DEARBORN - Recently, @Ford Online spoke with Ford President of The Americas Joe Hinrichs on product, process and the year ahead. Below is an excerpt from that discussion.
Q. When we talk about Built Ford Tough, we usually think about F-Series, but now we’re also talking about vans like the Transit. How important are those vehicles to Ford moving forward?
A. They’re incredibly important. The E-Series has been the leader for 30-some years here in the U.S. in the van segment. And we’re very excited about bringing global Transit to the marketplace here and building it in Kansas City. Transit Connect has been a leader for us since we launched a few years ago. Now, we have a new Transit coming and a van version to carry passengers. That lineup across the board – Transit, Transit Connect and all our F-Series – gives us unquestioned leadership in the commercial vehicle industry in the United States. In fact, we had 47 percent market share in commercial vehicles last year in the marketplace. That’s how strong our business is in that segment of the industry.
Q. Last year, we introduced the Go Further global brand promise. How do you think that promise has evolved over the past year?
A. The whole concept behind Go Further is about serving the customer in ways that both surprise and delight them. It’s the whole mindset on how we approach our business. You’re seeing that throughout the course of last year, and of course, into this year. Whether it’s the Ford Atlas Concept, which is going further with technology or styling in the truck business, or the C-MAX Hybrid, which in its first two months of launch is now the fastest-selling hybrid ever in the industry. These are a few examples of how we are going further every day. Most importantly, embracing the opportunity and taking advantage of this wonderful time at Ford where we can profitably grow in all markets around the world.
Q. What accomplishments stood out in 2012?
A. There were several. First, we launched great vehicles like the Ford Fusion, Ford C-MAX and Lincoln MKZ, which are carrying over into dealerships this year. Additionally, the region’s record profitability through the first nine months of last year, record profits in the first quarter and record operating margins all illustrate the work the North American team has done during the past several years to restructure, get the cost structure right, launch great new products and grow the business. Then, when you think about all the technology we’ve introduced – our EcoBoost engines, MyFord Touch and MyLincoln Touch – and where we’re going in the future, it’s a great time to be a part of Ford in North America.
Q. What are your goals for 2013?
A. When you think about 2013, the opportunity in front of us is to continue to grow profitably. We need to maintain the strong margins and profitability we had in 2012, while growing our market share for this year. We have great products that launched last year and we need to continue to improve our quality as well as our launch performance. As we bring all of that together, we’ll continue to be a powerhouse in the industry.
Q. As the new leader of The Americas, what message would you like to send to employees?
A. The first message for all our employees is thank you. Thank you for all your contributions over the last several years to get us to the point where we are today. We have the freshest lineup in the industry, record profitability in North America and a great business overall. The second thing I would say is for each employee to think about the opportunity we have moving forward to continue to improve our quality, grow our market share and keep the product showroom fresh. This includes new products like the Transit family, Fiesta and all the products we’re going to be working on. I think we need to embrace that excitement and that opportunity. This is our time to grow the business profitably, take advantage of all the work we did through the last several years and show the industry what Ford is capable of doing.