Thursday, January 30, 2014

Ford Strategy for Product Portfolio - 2014

Platform consolidation and efficiency metrics

As part of the company’s move to build efficiency into everything it does, reducing the number of platforms has been a top priority for Ford

“Reducing our platform count allows us to gain efficiencies of scale across the business.”  Ford has moved from using 27 vehicle platforms in 2007 to using only 15 in 2014 and it has  plans to reduce this number down to only nine platforms at some point in the future.

Those nine global core platforms include the B-platform Ford Fiesta, C-platform Ford Focus, C/D-platform Ford Fusion, sports car segment Ford Mustang, D-platform Ford Explorer, light truck platform Ford Ranger, full-size pickup Ford F-150, Ford Super Duty pickups and the full-size van platform utilized by the Ford Transit.

These platforms accounted for 80 percent of the business volume in 2013 and that many of these have had great success of late. Fiesta is the best-selling sub-compact in the world, while the Ford Focus continues to be the best-selling nameplate in the world. The F-150 held onto its best-selling truck status in the United States for the 37th-consecutive year and commercial vans continue to show growth with 475,000 sold globally in 2013.

It is important to maintain the freshness of the company’s product offerings and that 2014 will be an important year for Ford with the launch of 23 new or refreshed vehicles across the globe.

From Fiesta, Focus, and the all-new Fusion, our global sedans deliver style, strength and safety with driving dynamics that turn casual drivers into enthusiasts.

2013 Ford Shelby GT500
For North America, Ford has upgraded the full-size 2013 Taurus, adding increased power and fuel efficiency. The 2013 Ford Shelby GT500 has also debuted as the most powerful production V8 in the world.

Ford has the freshest car portfolio in the auto industry.

Sparking the F-150’s continued success is the powerful and fuel-efficient 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine, which now accounts for more than 40 percent of F-150 retail sales, exceeding 100,000 sales in less than one year on the market. Ford F-Series continues its legacy of leadership in the United States as the best-selling truck for 35 consecutive years, and the best-selling vehicle for 30 years.

2013 Ford SVT Raptor
The all-new global Ford Ranger has come to market, combining the toughness and capability of a pickup with smart technology, excellent fuel economy and high standards of safety, quality and comfort. Ranger will be manufactured on three continents and sold in 180 markets, making it one of the farthest-reaching Ford vehicles in the world.

Also new in the world of Ford trucks is the North American Transit van, which in 2013 will replace the celebrated Econoline wagon and van in North America. The Transit’s forerunner is currently available in Europe. The Transit will soon be available in North America, as well, with the same 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine as the F-150 and fuel economy 25 percent better than that of comparable Econoline vans.

Utility Vehicles
The new EcoSport is already expanding Ford’s global presence in growth markets such as Brazil and the Asia Pacific region.

Ford EcoSport
The all-new Escape/Kuga arrived globally in 2012. This brand new model of America’s best-selling SUV features 11 new exclusive features, with fuel economy projected to top any vehicle of its kind on today’s market.

The reinvented Explorer entered the 2012 model year with an expanded color palette and all-new Ford EcoBoost four-cylinder engine, delivering class-leading fuel economy and responsive performance. The Edge and Flex were refreshed, as well.


Ford CEO Alan Mulally has outlined plans to boost the carmaker’s worldwide sales volumes by more than 50 percent by mid-decade, putting it close to parity with the industry’s top  two  GM and Toyota.

But Ford is lagging behind some key competitors, notably Volkswagen, for the past decade in Europe.
Mulally acknowledges that the new global goal will require the automaker to finally gain some real traction in Asia. But in China, GM holds a hefty 15 percent market share in China while Ford has  4 percent.

Mulally created a global entity. Key to that strategy, dubbed “One Ford,” is the consolidation of the Ford product portfolio. Rather than duplicate efforts from one market to another, Ford is focusing on products that can be built and sold around the world. By creating economies of scale, Ford can “can make up” for the lower margins made on vehicles.

Ford has counted on sales in North America to generate the lion’s share of its earnings to date, placing emphasis on big, profitable trucks like the full-size F-150 pickup.  Worldwide, Mulally’s new growth plan predicts that small cars and crossovers will account for 55 percent of Ford’s sales volume by 2020, up from 48 percent at present.
The carmaker is taking a multi-pronged approach. It is offering more features.  For example, when Ford reintroduced a new Taurus in 2010, the car featured a “cross-traffic alert system,” designed to detect oncoming vehicles when the car was backed out of a parking spot. The technology had only just debuted on the significantly more expensive BMW 7-Series.

Ford is also putting a premium on fuel efficiency. It  has proclaimed a goal of “being the best, or at least being among the very best, in terms of fuel economy, in every segment where we compete.”

But Ford has continued to lag as an also-ran in the hybrid segment, well behind Toyota, despite the steady rollout of new models like the Lincoln MKZ, which was notably the first product on the market that allowed buyers to choose either a conventional gasoline engine or an optional gas-electric powertrain at no additional cost. Ford hopes to break out  by launching five advanced electric vehicles, including a pure battery-electric version of the Focus, as well as both standard and plug-in hybrid versions of the upcoming C-Max microvan.
The C-Max will become the first dedicated hybrid model in the Ford vehicle line-up. The carmaker is hoping the distinctive shape and attributes of the new “people mover” will yield the same sort of brand halo that Toyota has gotten with its dedicated hybrid. With the addition of the C-Max Hybrid and plug-in C-Max Energi — as well as the Focus Electric and other new electrified offerings — Ford hopes to nearly triple sales of its battery-based vehicles to 100,000 a year by 2013.

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