Jim Smart
December 2, 2014

If you’re the average Ford enthusiast, you probably don’t recognize the name Bob Rewey. However, if ever you’ve driven a Taurus, Explorer, Escape, Expedition, or perhaps the classic Lincoln Mark VII LSC, you’re familiar with but a portion of his work from nearly four decades at Ford Motor Company. When Rewey retired from Ford as a vice president in 2001 after 38 years with the company, he had blazed an incredible trail through the company and brought us some of Ford’s greatest marketing successes. Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford described Rewey as a “great marketing visionary.” It was Bill Ford who looked to Rewey for guidance time and time again.

Bob Rewey was born in Springfield, Ohio in 1938 earning a bachelor’s degree in marketing and later his master’s in business administration. He joined Ford Motor Company in 1963 just when things were getting exciting and there couldn’t have been a better time to be at Ford. That raw excitement served as a launch pad for an incredible career that took him places he never dreamed of going early in life.

In the course of Bob Rewey’s long career at Ford, he was responsible for so many things we take for granted today including automobile and truck leasing, and innovative financing programs that enabled Ford to sell more vehicles. He had a powerful reputation for moving steel. He turned pickup trucks and utility vehicles into sporty and luxurious transportation for more and more buyers making the humble and hard-working F-Series trucks a global sales phenomenon. Ford F-Series trucks remain the best-selling vehicle in the world today. Another top seller, Ford Taurus, was the result of Rewey’s great marketing vision. He infused sportiness into the popular Lincoln Mark VII lineup.

Bob Rewey’s most memorable decision at the Ford Division was to stop the Mustang from becoming a from a front-wheel-drive Mazda-based vehicle in the late 1980s. This history-changing moment happened because Bob Rewey had an instinct for what buyers and dealers wanted. He read the mail and paid close attention to what people had to say. He listened to Ford customers and followed through on what he learned. Rewey followed important trends and virtually saved the Mustang from extinction. What’s more, he was the rocket fuel that thrust Ford’s Special Vehicle Team (SVT) into the spotlight with the Mustang Cobra and sporty F150 Lightning pick-up truck.

Bob Rewey is easily remembered for his great contributions to charities like Detroit’s Police Athletic League, Cleveland’s Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Great Lakes Science Center. Our world lost Bob Rewey Monday, December 1, at 86 after a brief illness. He will be deeply missed by those fortunate enough to have known him.