DEARBORN - Recently, @Ford Online had the opportunity to chat with Ford CTO and VP of Research and Advanced Engineering Paul Mascarenas about Ford Motor Company’s Global Brand Promise and how it continues to guide the department’s technology development and outreach programs. Below is an excerpt from that discussion.
Q. How have you explained the Go Further brand promise to your team?
A. The way that we’ve explained Go Further to our team is that it’s a fantastic opportunity to do exactly what it says: to go further. We’ve had the One Ford plan and we’ve been very focused on the One Ford plan for the past three or four years. We’ve been focused on our pillars – high-quality vehicles that are safe, green and smart. Go Further is the opportunity to do exactly that – whether it’s Go Further in terms of the technologies that we bring to market, the experience that those technologies enable for our customers, Go Further in terms of community outreach and the things that we do around educational programs. It’s just a great opportunity for us. And we started talking about Go Further here and we asked for some examples. . . What are you doing here in Dearborn? What you are doing in Aachen? What we received was incredible.
Q. What does the Go Further brand promise mean to you personally?
A. It’s an opportunity to push the envelope. I think for me, if you think about my background and experience, it’s been pretty much Product Development and bringing vehicles to market, launching new technologies, ensuring our vehicles are safe and that they’re high quality. What Go Further means for me is now thinking a little bit beyond the vehicle as we know it today. We can start thinking about bigger issues like mobility, how congestion and population growth as well as urbanization might affect mobility in the future. How Ford continues to stay relevant as a provider of mobility services – different business models, different types of vehicles, different technologies. And again coming back to those priorities we have of building great products, building a strong business, making our contribution to a better world and mobility is a great contribution.
Q. Can you provide some examples of the ways in which your team has gone further?
A. I can provide so many examples. First, let’s think about community outreach. We’ve got a couple of programs, one here in Dearborn and one in Aachen. Our program here is the high school science and technology program which a couple of our guys lead. It’s such a great program to see the kids coming in and see them interacting with our engineers and spending their Saturdays here with us and exploring technology in the labs and seeing what they do. Similarly in Aachen, we have a program which is actually an outreach to some disadvantaged children, disadvantaged families and helping provide them with education that they wouldn’t otherwise receive. Again it’s another great example of using the assets we’ve got at Ford out in the community.
Think about all the technologies that we’ve developed, including inflatable seatbelts. We launched them in the Explorer and we’re now rolling them out in a number of our Ford and Lincoln vehicles. Think about the work that we do globally and our active safety and driver-assistance technologies as well as the contribution that our team is making to the basic crashworthiness of our vehicles,, even helping people avoid getting into accidents in the first place. And then another area is our university outreach program. In Aachen we’ve put together a network of university relationships which are not only an opportunity for us to make a contribution back to education (in the sense of science, technology, engineering, math), but also giving us access to world-class research facilities outside of Ford which helps make Ford attractive as an employer by developing early relationships with students who could potentially become Ford engineers. These are just a few examples. There are many, many more.
Q. How do you believe the global brand promise contributes to the transformation of Ford and the One Ford plan?
A. I think we can use it to really enhance our image and our reputation. We’ve talked a lot about polishing the Ford Oval. We’ve talked a lot about the good will we’ve had with restructuring the business and the way that we’ve done that by ourselves without external assistance and so on. But now we can really focus on what it is we do as a company. In the sense of the broader issue of mobility – and that may be beyond the vehicle as we know it today. It could be a very different mobility model. And it’s really going back to our roots as a company, which not to overuse the term mobility, but it really was about providing mobility to the masses as well as putting the world on wheels. Now, I see the challenge going forward as not putting the world on wheels, but as actually keeping the world moving and dealing with some of these macroeconomic and societal issues. I think we have a real opportunity to differentiate ourselves by getting ahead of our competition, being thought leaders and also bringing to market more mobility solutions in a very proactive way – in a way that really makes a contribution to society.
Q. Anything else that you would like to add?
A. Again, we’ve had this tremendous opportunity over the last few years to really focus on the One Ford plan and our four priorities. We’ve delivered on those and we’ve got the products and the business structure starting to go really quite nicely for us. With Go Further, we’ve got an opportunity to as it says – to go further, to separate ourselves from our competition. The way I talk about the work that we do in Research and Advanced Engineering is that it’s about delivering technology. Not technology for the sake of technology though. It’s not technology as a list of features and specifications. But it’s technology to enable an experience for our customers and going further in terms of that experience. Going beyond their expectations and creating an experience that in our customers’ minds is high value and at the same time helps us differentiate ourselves from our competition. It defines our image and reputation as a company. And that image and reputation is as a technology company and a provider of mobility services. It’s a fantastic opportunity for us and very exciting.
I talk a lot about this convergence between consumer electronics and the experience you have with your smart phone, your television and the other smart devices in your home, your office and now thinking that the vehicle is the extension of your home and office. We call it a second home on wheels and it’s about making that a completely seamless experience. And that, for me, is a differentiator. That is an example of going further. It says that the experience that you’re enjoying at home in your office…why should that stop now when you get into your vehicle. It is as seamless as an experience as we can make it. It’s just great. It’s a big opportunity for us and very exciting times to be here leading our global Research and Advanced Engineering activities.