One World, One Ford, One Spin

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago

Late last year, The New York Times hired long-time Detroit News cheerleader Bill Vlasic. Fans of the man will be glad to learn that the auto scribe has stayed true to his roots. Writing for The Old Gray lady, Vlasic pens a paean to Ford CEO Alan Mulally's global integration plans; an essay that finds the silver lining in Ford's arterial spray of red ink. "Much of his focus since joining Ford 16 months ago has been on cutting costs and jobs. And more buyouts were announced on Thursday, when the company reported that it had narrowed its overall losses in 2007 to $2.7 billion, a major improvement after its wrenching $12.6 billion loss in 2006. But with the shrinking of Ford’s core United States business nearly done, Mr. Mulally is eager to get its global operations hitting on all cylinders." Sounds great! So, tell us about Big Al's Boeing-like plan to consolidate Ford's platforms. How many do they have, how many do they want, and how are they going to build compelling local products on a world platform? "Mr. Mulally declined to specify how many platforms Ford had now or discuss its goal for consolidation. But he gushed at the savings the company could realize by spreading its costs over more international models. 'Seventy percent of our total volume will be on eight platforms by 2012,' he said. 'You can only imagine what a tremendous improvement that will be.'" Looks like Mulally found the right guy for that job.

Robert Farago
Robert Farago

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  • Guyincognito Guyincognito on Jan 25, 2008

    It will be amazing if Mulally could make this work at Ford. Ford somehow has a way to make an entirely different platform requiring all new tooling out of 100% carryover parts.

  • Ricky Spanish Ricky Spanish on Jan 25, 2008

    Does this mean we finally get the Mondeo and Euro-Focus ?

  • Mykeliam Mykeliam on Jan 25, 2008

    I don't understand why the Euro Fords aren't here rebadged as Lincolns or Mercury's anyway! The higher price would then be not an issue.

  • RobertSD RobertSD on Jan 25, 2008

    Kuzak recently said that something like 70% of all vehicles would come from eight platforms by 2012. I have no idea how many they currently have, but it is probably in the dozens. So, yes, this means we get the Focus and Mondeo (named Fusion) from Europe in some sense. The C2 Focus will launch here in early 2010. The Fusion is tentatively set to be moved to the EUCD2 for the 2012MY last I heard. It will have an updated version on the CD3-2 shared with the 2009 Mazda6 debuting later this year. > The other side rarely mentioned is better powertrain sharing and technology sharing. Ford is reducing the number of engine programs it has. Eventually, the company will only have maybe eight to ten engine lines (plus hybrid and hydrogen research) as opposed to eight engine lines just in the six-cylinder realm like they recently had. Technologies like pedestrian protection, materials research, adaptive cruise, transmissions, electrical system design, in-car features will be shared globally to some extent as well.