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New Ford Division Chief to Focus on Sales, Dealers

May 29, 2002

The new head of Ford Motor Co.'s Ford division -- the industry's largest sales organization -- vows to achieve market share gains in the second

half of the year and fight off a challenge from General Motors Corp.'s reinvigorated Chevrolet brand, according to the Detroit News.

Stephen G. Lyons, 53, was promoted to president of Ford division earlier this month after three decades with the automaker in a variety of jobs. He's now in charge of marketing, sales and distribution of all Ford brand cars and trucks in the United States at a time when the automaker is rebounding from $5.45 billion in

losses last year.

In an interview, Lyons said Ford should bounce back in the second half of the year and grab close to 19 percent of the U.S. market -- a target the automaker says it needs to reach to meet turnaround goals.

In his new post, Lyons said he'll concentrate on

relations with the Ford brand's 3,900 dealers. Ford's dealers felt threatened by the company's now-aborted attempts to buy and run dealerships and other initiatives launched by former chief executive Jacques Nasser, according to the News.

"The success of the division is totally dependent on the success of our dealers," Lyons said. "Sometimes you find that it's easy to drift off that course. I will meet with any Ford dealer, any time, anywhere. I will talk to them squarely and tell them what I can do and what I can't."

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