US - Bruce Hettle, Ford's group vice president of manufacturing and labor affairs, is due to retire on 1 October, and will be replaced by Gary Johnson. In this role, Johnson will manage the operations of 67 assembly, stamping and powertrain production plants across the world.

"Under Bruce’s leadership, Ford has achieved world-class levels of manufacturing excellence, and worked together with our labor partners to continuously improve quality and competitiveness," Joe Hinrichs, executive vice president and president of global operations, recalled. "We’re fortunate to have someone of Gary’s global experience and deep knowledge to continue to raise the bar and lead us into a new era of innovation in manufacturing."

Johnson has been working at Ford for 32 years, carrying out numerous leadership roles such as vice president of manufacturing for North America and Asia Pacific.

The appointment comes soon after the OEM made two notable announcements relating to improving production at its facilities. Following trials of the technology at its engine assembly plant in Valencia, Spain, the company wants to provide workers with body tracking suits at various facilities across Europe in the hope of improving workstations. Ford also revealed that it would roll out Exoskeletal technology to help workers in 15 plants located in seven countries.