• Jim Farley has been Ford CEO since 2020.
• He isn't just the head honcho, but has been a serious petrolhead since childhood.
• His passion has led to the launch of a new motoring Podcast with Spotify called Drive.
We all have a story to tell regarding our love for cars. Or perhaps an incident that ignited a passion that still burns today. I can relate to that. When my mother wanted to teach me how to cook and sew, I was outside in the garage watching my father and cousins tinkering under the bonnet of his Escort Mk2.
That mint green Ford was the foundation of my love for cars and set the path to my future as a motoring journalist. I'm as passionate about cars today as I was decades ago. So, I find it interesting that Ford CEO Jim Farley has an almost identical story that resonates so close to home.
It's no surprise that automaker CEOs are sometimes hardcore petrolheads. It's a given. However, some are more business-driven than spurred on by passion. So it's no surprise that Farley is a hardcore car guy.
Farley's enthusiasm, or rather obsession, stems back to his childhood when he was nicknamed Jimmy Car Car— a name that follows him to this day. The fact that his grandfather was an early employee at Ford, also ties to his destiny.
He might have only taken over the role as CEO in 2020, but cars have been his life and a constant talking point, but now the revered CEO has another claim to fame: He's hosting a Spotify podcast called Drive.
Premiering 25 May, Ford says Farley is stepping behind the mic to interview friends, comedians, and fellow auto enthusiasts about how cars unite us all.
Find the trailer to the Drive Podcast here.
For the Record (FTR) caught up with Farley to find out what attracted him to podcasting, the passion that exists around car culture, and what he's learned along the way.
FTR: What led you to do a podcast in the first place?
Farley: "I've been passionate about cars my entire life, and the podcast was a chance to connect with others about our mutual love for the things that get us around.
"Having these conversations helps me recharge my batteries and connect with my love for cars outside of business.
"Drive is a show about passion and what drives you, through the lens of cars.
FTR: Why did you choose podcast as a medium for this conversation?
Farley: "It seemed like the best platform to capture an entire conversation. I learn by talking to people, and sometimes you need a solid block of time to dig deep with someone.
FTR: Your podcast guests include Dax Shepard, Jimmy Kimmel, The Duke of Richmond, and Patrice Banks. How did you decide on those individuals? What made their stories speak to you?
Farley: "Each of my guests fascinates me in different ways. I wanted to talk with people from different walks of life who also shared a love of cars.
"When we first started, we had an extensive list of people we wanted to talk to and narrowed it down over time.
FTR: There are so many different ways to be passionate about cars—driving, collecting, racing, fixing, general trivia—what do you think makes them such a particular item and symbol for people?
Farley: "Everyone has a story in their life that's linked to a car. You don't have to be a car collector or auto exec to connect through these stories.
"People are passionate about vehicles. Yes, they can physically take you from point A to point B, but what happens on these journeys is often what you remember.
FTR: What have you learned since creating and hosting this podcast?
Farley: "Well, first, I learned how to host a podcast! When I first started, I wasn't all that good. But I got better. And I'm incredibly grateful to my guests like Dax and Jimmy, who were gracious with their time and advice about how to do this.
"Second, in talking to some really inspiring people, I learned that almost none of them had a sense of destiny that they'd find success or be great. All of them had doubts, failures, and adversities. It was humbling and a reminder that what matters is the sense of purpose and passion for doing what you love and doing it well, not the sense that everything will work out.
FTR: What is your go-to song or podcast for listening in the car?
Farley: Whatever my kids want to listen to! They are in charge!
FTR: What drives you, personally?
Farley: "A duty to my family and my grandfather who was employee #389 at Ford. I genuinely believe Ford can help make the world a better place, and that's a legacy I'm willing to sacrifice for.