Ford’s Mark LaNeve built strong ties with dealers

“I’d expect Andrew to put his own spin on things, but I think he’s perfectly placed, and he has the same relationships with the dealers that Mark had,” Bazzy said. “Andrew Frick will go very far in this company.”

Ford hired LaNeve, who had spent nearly 25 years at General Motors, in 2015. He formed an unofficial group of dealer advisers he often consulted for candid feedback for what he called a “learning journey.”

He also made regular appearances on conference calls and at in-person dealer meetings.

Last summer, LaNeve took multiple road trips across the U.S., logging thousands of miles to visit dozens of showrooms. He was key in orchestrating payment assistance for customers during the pandemic and a recent “Built for America” marketing campaign.

“When you look at what’s come out of 2020 for us, the way we’ve handled it in sales and branding, we’ve come out of it in almost a better position than we’ve been in a long time,” Bazzy said. “They steered us through the icebergs.”

Bazzy said LaNeve brought energy to meetings and instilled a winning mentality among dealers.

He joked that he wouldn’t be surprised if LaNeve joined a sports team because he often felt “like a coach.”

The comparison is apt. An avid NFL fan, LaNeve would often bring football legends — Hall of Famers Joe Namath and Jerome Bettis in recent years — to dealer meetings to celebrate Ford’s top performers by handing out blue sport coats and championship-style rings.

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