Bob Rewey, who died Nov. 29 at 76, made his mark in the 1990s as Ford Motor Co.'s top North American sales executive.
But the hard-driving metal-mover, who retired in 2001, was also the last Lincoln-Mercury boss to experience what might be called glory days at the division. He became the division's general marketing manager in 1977, general sales manager in 1980 and general manager in February 1984, before becoming head of Ford Division in February 1985.
In his last two years at Lincoln-Mercury, volume grew far faster than the industry overall. In 1984, the division's market share soared to 4.8 percent, a level it would not reach again. When he left for Ford, Rewey said Lincoln-Mercury sales -- which totaled 678,673 in 1984 -- could rise to a million units.
"I think it is a doable goal by the end of the decade," he told Automotive News at the time. Sales did climb to 693,171 in 1985, but never again were that high.
Rewey also led a customer satisfaction push that in 1983 enabled Lincoln to become the highest ranking domestic ever until that time in the J.D. Power customer satisfaction survey. The brand ranked fourth behind Mercedes-Benz, Subaru and Honda. Mercury was 10th that year, the only other domestic nameplate in the top 10.
For Lincoln, now a shadow of its former self, and Mercury, now defunct, those were the good old days -- with a helping hand from Bob Rewey.