Ford Motor Co. of Canada has announced veteran Ford executive Canadian Dean Stoneley, who began his career with Ford of Canada in 1992, is returning to serve as president and CEO, replacing Mark Buzzell effective Feb. 1.
Buzzell now will serve as director of North American fleet, lease and remarketing operations for the Ford Motor Co.
Buzzell was first appointed Ford Canada CEO effective Jan. 1, 2017.
Currently, Stoneley is vice-president and director of marketing for Changan, Ford’s National Dealer Sales Distribution joint venture in China. Stoneley has previously served as vice-president marketing and vice-president sales for Ford Asia Pacific region based in Shanghai, China.
During his 27 years with Ford, Stoneley has held a variety of global leadership roles including those in sales, marketing and service in Canada, the United States, South Africa, South Korea, Japan and China.
'Excited to come home'
In a statement, Stoneley said he’s “excited to come home.”
One of the more unique projects Stoneley helped oversee and launch during his tenure as Ford's Asia Pacific vice-president for marketing was an eight-story vehicle vending machine in Guangzhou. It was joint project between Ford and the country's e-commerce colossus Alibaba Group, the Amazon of China. It became operational March, 26, 2018.
"It's a neat, novel, fun way to engage consumers, but it's had a much wider reach," Stoneley told Automotive News at the time. "There's a lot of learnings from it."
Customers interested in a Ford, be it a Mustang, Mondeo, Explorer or any of the 130 vehicles on tap, roll up to the unmanned structure. They are scanned by facial recognition software and then check out with the vehicle of their choice for a three-day test drive.
One customer bought an Explorer on opening day and Ford sold about 10 vehicles in the first month of operation, the company said.
“This appointment helps to address our global business needs and drive growth, making us stronger for the future,” Ford spokeswoman Rose Pao said of the moves in an email to Automotive News Canada.
Up and down sales
In 2017, Ford Canada’s sales totaled 308,474 vehicles, a 1.3 percent increase over 2016. In 2018, when the industry as a whole still managed to sell two million new vehicles for just the second time in history, Ford sales fell 3.4 percent to 297,902 units.
Pao told Automotive News Canada that in no way was the change related to Buzzell’s performance, saying that he did not underperform or fail to meet expectations.
Under Buzzell’s tenure, Ford retained its position as the top-selling automotive brand in the country for the 10th consecutive year, became the best-selling SUV brand in Canada, and secured investments of $1.2 billion in its Canadian operations, which included opening three new connectivity and innovation centres in Ontario.
“Mark’s leadership has been fundamental to the continued success of Ford in Canada,” Ford North America President Kumar Galhotra said in a statement. “Dean brings with him a wealth of global experience as he returns to lead Ford of Canada through a transformative time in our industry.”