Mr. Collins, 43, was hired by his former boss, Earl Hesterberg, who left Ford in spring 2005 to join Group One as president-CEO after four months as VP-marketing, sales and service in North America. Mr. Hesterberg also held the top marketing job at Ford Europe.
Mr. Collins succeeds Joseph Herman, who remains as a consultant through June 30, though his retirement is official Nov. 30.
Trimming white-collar ranks
Mr. Collins' move comes as Ford Motor attempts to trim its white-collar ranks as part of its latest revitalization plans.
During his career at Ford, he held a variety of assignments, including marketing general manager of Ford Division and an international stint as a regional manager for Ford of Britain. He'll be overseeing Group One's 24 dealership operations in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana and Mississippi.