Donald A. Winkler, chairman and CEO of Ford Financial, is now also Group Vice President at Ford Motor Co., a move seen as boding well for the automaker's f&i arm.

He says his appointment indicates that Ford Financial is an integral part of Ford Motor Co.'s efforts to maintain long-term consumer relationships.

“Because we have an on-going relations with consumers, we are in a unique position to solidify their lifelong relationship with Ford,” he says.

Also promoted is Greg Smith, president of Ford Financial to a Ford vice presidency. A.J. Wagner, and John Noone are promoted to vice president positions at Ford Financial.