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Book captures Ford's Farley launching F-bomb at GM

Fri, 22 Jul 2011

A new book about the Detroit auto industry rebuilding itself is showing that old rivalries are still alive and kicking in the Motor City.

In Once Upon a Car by Bill Vlasic, Ford Motor Co.'s marketing chief lobs an F-bomb at General Motors.

"We're going to beat on them, and it's going to be fun," the book quotes Jim Farley, Ford's group vice president of global marketing, sales and service, as saying.

"F*** GM," he says. "I hate them and their company and what they stand for. And I hate the way they're succeeding. Ford is back because people trust us. And that is a powerful message. I'm a car guy. I wake up each morning thinking about cars. Watch out. We're only going to get better."

Such comments might seem like innocent trash talk. But the Detroit 3 have coexisted for decades in the same city by observing an unwritten code of conduct that shuns such badmouthing.

Yet last month, GM CEO Dan Akerson was quoted in the Detroit News as saying that Ford "might as well sprinkle holy water" on Lincoln, implying that the brand is dead.

In a statement, Ford said: "We have not yet seen the book and are unable to comment on the specific quotes. This is a passionate, competitive industry, and we respect all of our competitors."

The comments appear on the final page of an uncorrected proof of the book, distributed before an Oct. 4 sales date. The passage doesn't indicate when Farley made the remarks or to whom.

Author Vlasic is Detroit bureau chief of the New York Times.

Farley joined Ford in November 2007 after nearly two decades at Toyota Motor Corp.

He is also quoted in the book as saying, "I'm going to beat Chevrolet on the head with a bat. And I'm going to enjoy it."

In the early 1990s, GM had handed out baseball bats to various assembly plants with the words "Beat Toyota" carved into them.

By Jamie LaReau- Automotive News