Ford picks Lexington for govt relations

Ford Motor Company has selected Lexington Communications to boost its UK government relations efforts.

Digby Jones: joins Ford in October
Digby Jones: joins Ford in October
The firm wants more recognition for its role as an investor in research and development and its contribution to the UK’s skills base. As an employer of 33,000 people in the UK, it is eager to recapture the limelight from more recent
inward investors such as Nissan and Honda.

Lexington won a competitive pitch against at least two other firms including previous incumbent Fleishman-Hillard. Fees are understood to be just over £100,000, a four-fold increase on its previous agency investment.

The hire follows Ford’s appointment last month of CBI director-general Sir Digby Jones as part-time corporate and government affairs adviser from October. The move signalled Ford’s determination to improve its reputation among policy and special interest groups.

The company’s image has taken a battering in recent months over its gas-guzzling Jaguar marque, a car that
has been abandoned by several senior politicians to appease environmentalists.

‘Climate change is the most important issue facing the car industry,’ said Ford comms and PA manager John Gardiner. ‘It has to be tackled through a range of vehicle and fuel technologies, infrastructure improvements and behavioural changes.

‘It’s important that policy makers make informed decisions based on a full appreciation of the facts.’
He added that the company was exploring ‘diesel micro-hybrid’ and ‘biofuel’ technology.

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