Joe Hinrichs, currently vp of North America manufacturing for Ford Motor Co., will be promoted to group vp-global manufacturing effective Jan. 1, 2008.

Hinrichs will lead the worldwide integration of Ford’s manufacturing operations and its engineering support for vehicle, powertrain and stamping, focusing on improving the alignment between manufacturing and product development on a global scale.

Ford noted that Hinrichs will continue to directly oversee North American manufacturing operations while also gaining global responsibility for Ford’s material planning and logistics operations, production system, and manufacturing business office organizations.

Hinrichs joined Ford in 2000 and has held a variety of top manufacturing jobs at the company, leading Ford’s successful effort to negotiate competitive operating agreements with the United Auto Workers across the OEM’s U.S. manufacturing operations. He also played a key role in this year’s contract negotiations with the UAW, which led to a new four-year U.S. labor agreement.