DEARBORN, Mich. — Ford Motor Co. appointed Jeff A. Nichols, a company manager across several divisions since 1985, on Jan. 5 as its limousine/livery manager.
In his newly added role, Nichols, who is also Ford’s global business development manager of commercial fleets, will oversee and promote sales of Ford fleet vehicles to the chauffeured transportation industry worldwide. He also will serve as a key liaison to coachbuilders, operators, industry associations, and the media.
Nichols succeeds Doug Walczak who left last fall to become sales manager for Ford Export and Global Growth Initiatives, also based in Dearborn, Mich. Walczak had been limousine/livery manager since 2004.
“Between my fleet and automotive experience from dealerships to the final product, I have a good background for this limousine job,” Nichols said. “There’s obviously a lot to learn and a steep learning curve. I’m looking forward to learning as much as I can as fast I can so we can maintain our present position.”
Nichols will attend the International LCT Show Jan. 26-28 in Las Vegas as his first major chauffeured transportation industry function.
After joining Ford in 1985, Nichols held multiple management positions in the company's Lincoln Mercury division including field assignments in the Dallas, San Francisco, and Los Angeles regional offices, where he held positions including zone manager, merchandising manager, owner loyalty/red carpet leasing manager, and distribution manager.
From 1993 to 2002, Jeff returned to Ford Motor Company's general office and held numerous Ford division marketing, brand management, and customer satisfaction management roles, including consumer and product research manager; small car/truck brand team manager, owner/loyalty customer satisfaction manager; business operations training manger for Ford Investment Enterprise Corp.; and communications and training manager for Consumer Connect eDealer Services.
In 2002, Jeff was appointed global business development manager of Ford's commercial fleet, a position he serves in. In this role, Jeff is responsible for developing and sustaining a global fleet infrastructure that allows all of the Ford Motor Company Trustmark brands to compete for the top Fortune 500 corporate global fleet business. He is recognized as Ford’s expert in global fleet sales and serves as the company spokesperson for the fleet industry.
One of the first issues Nichols will handle is the anticipation of a successor luxury livery vehicle to the venerable Lincoln Town Car, due to be discontinued after the 2010 model year. He said Ford is not ready yet to unveil specific plans, but assures Ford plans to maintain its same, longstanding commitment to the chauffeured transportation industry.
“My appointment is an illustration of that,” Nichols said. “We are working through a product cycle and we’re trying to accelerate and build the best parts of it we can. The limousine/livery package is in that mix. It’s being evaluated as we speak.”
Source: Martin Romjue, LCT Magazine