DEARBORN - As technology advances and new products are developed, Ford Motor Company thrives on constant innovation.
The company’s thought leaders -- Ford executives and employees -- are hard at work developing cutting-edge technology that build on the company’s past and start to shape the future.
Each month, current executives and thought leaders in the company speak to a former group of employees who helped integrate technology leadership in to Ford’s DNA - the Ford Retired Engineering Executives (FREE) club.
Barb Samardzich, vice president, product development, Ford of Europe, was this month’s speaker, where she updated the FREE members on Europe’s present economic status and the plan for regaining profitable growth in the region.
According to Samardzich, Ford of Europe is in the midst of climbing out of an economic crisis and reaching the turning point to success.
“We do think that we probably hit the bottom of the recession,” said Samardzich. “Now in 2013 we’ll probably skim along the bottom of this recession and then see a gradual increase in the number of vehicles sold in the region. The expectation is that the crisis will probably still be with us until 2015.”
So how is Ford of Europe responding to the economic turmoil?
“It was truly an unbelievable One Ford cascade,” she said. “We are replicating what we did in North America in Europe and already seeing great results.”
Focusing on financing this plan, rationalizing capacity and delivering on a great global product platform are just some of the steps being taken to get the region back on track.
“We are continuing to expand the product portfolio to make sure we have some great product and a lot of this leverages One Ford. The big message is to continue to invest in product. That’s what we did in North America and it led us out of the recession. So we’re doing the same thing in Europe,” said Samardzich.
Building a great product portfolio means introducing a fresh look to the product showroom.
By 2015, the Ford Mustang, Ford Edge and Ford EcoSport will all make their way to the showroom floor.
“We’ve got a very full lineup from compact all the way up to large,” she said. “So this gives us a lot of confidence that as the economy starts to turn around, the recession starts to wane and customers start to come back into a showroom ,we will have opportunities for them and vehicles that they are going to want and be delighted with. We have a really good plan for market share growth in Europe that leverages that product portfolio that we know we are really going to deliver on and get us back to profitability in Europe.”
Each month a new guest speaker attends this event. Next meeting Paul Mascarenas, vice president and chief technical officer, Research and Advanced Engineering, will be speaking to the group. Click here for more information on FREE and their initiatives.
More than 450 Ford alumni are members of FREE – making it one of the largest and most prestigious retiree organizations in the company. With more than 40 years as an active retiree group, FREE membership is limited to those with supervisory experience at an LL5 (SG11) or above.