Gerry Koss, fleet marketing manager for Ford, is set to retire Oct. 31 after a 32-year career with the automaker. Photo courtesy Ford.

Gerry Koss, fleet marketing manager for Ford, is set to retire Oct. 31 after a 32-year career with the automaker. Photo courtesy Ford.

Gerry Koss, fleet marketing manager for Ford, announced he will retire, effective Oct. 31, 2013 after a 32-year career with the automaker. Koss has been in his present assignment for Ford’s North American Fleet Remarketing & Leasing Operations (NAFLRO) division since 2001. Ford stated that Koss has been instrumental in the overall growth in Ford’s fleet volume and market share.

Automotive Fleet spoke with Koss about his career in Ford’s NAFLRO division and the other roles he had at the automaker during his 32-year career.

“When I came over to the fleet organization, our director wanted to create a department to focus on increased integration of fleet into other areas of the company,” Koss explained. “Because of my background in sales and marketing, product development and product strategy, I jumped at the opportunity to take this on and we created a separate fleet marketing and brand organization to begin the integration.

Emphasizing that Ford vehicles met the needs of fleet customers was an important part of Koss’ new role.

“The key focus was to ensure the Voice of the Fleet customer was communicated to, and understood by, other activities in the company responsible for our Forward Model Product programs," he said. "Early on, the majority of the Fleet Brand Manager’s day was spent over at our Product Development Center working directly with the program teams. Additionally, the role of our Advisory Boards changed with increased interface with our engineering teams to provide their recommendations. Last year we had five of the top ten vehicles in the commercial business. Many of these products were all new during this timeframe, including Fusion and Transit Connect, or underwent significant freshenings, including F-Series and Escape, demonstrating the important involvement by our Fleet Advisory Board. Additionally the success of our Next Generation Police Interceptors can be attributed to the integration of our Police Advisory Board and the engineering team.”

Koss began working for Ford in Dearborn, Mich., with the customer service organization. From there, he took on various roles in regional offices in Denver, Houston, Buffalo and Teterboro N.J. He then returned to Dearborn as the Red Carpet Lease program coordinator.

Koss next transferred to the Lincoln-Mercury organization in a marketing role where he focused on the launch of new models. After his time in this role, he went to Ford of Europe and was responsible for launching personal leasing products in selected European countries. Later, he became the product marketing manager for the Mondeo vehicle program.

“I’m going to take some time off and let everything settle in,” he said. “This will give us the opportunity to spend some more time at our place in Florida. But I anticipate after a little time off my focus will be planning for what the next chapter in my life will be. I have thoroughly enjoyed my years with Ford especially having the opportunity to work directly with customers in the fleet industry.”

For the Ford Fleet organization, Koss said the team is poised to take on new challenges and continue the expansion of the role of fleet within Ford and achieve further growth in the industry.

Regarding Koss’ contribution to the company and NAFLRO, Ford had this to say:

“During this time he has been instrumental in the overall growth of Ford Motor Company’s fleet volume and market share. He also played a significant role in the introduction of the Next Generation Police, Taxi and Limo/Livery products. We will surely miss his leadership, friendship, good nature, professionalism and hard work. Please join me in congratulating Gerry, and wishing him and his wife, Barb, all the best in the years to come.”

By Greg Basich