DEARBORN - Recently, @Ford Online had the opportunity to briefly interview Ford Group Vice President of Global Product Development Raj Nair regarding the company’s Go Further global brand promise and its meaning for the Product Development team. Below is an excerpt from that discussion.
Q. How have you described the Go Further brand promise to your team?
A. Go Further resonates really well with Product Development. As engineers, Go Further is really what we’re all about – whether it’s developing a new product, developing a new part or developing a new powertrain. It’s doing more with less. It’s improving the quality, improving the satisfaction, improving the performance and always going that one step beyond the customer expectation or what the competition is going to do. And that’s how you really get to be best in class in all of these attributes.
Q. What does Go Further mean to you personally?
A. I think it’s that balance of always expecting more, but knowing that you’ve got teams that can deliver more. Part of our job as leaders is to get our teams to do more than even they think they can do – to take it one step beyond to go further. It’s a great tool for me as well in setting expectations.
Q. Can you give us some specific examples of ways that your team has already gone further?
A. There are so many examples on the products we deliver, but some recent ones that are fresh in mind include the GT500. Producing a vehicle that is 662 horsepower, 200 mph top speed but then going further in that it delivers 15 in the city and 24 on the highway miles per gallon. So it doesn’t have a gas guzzler tax. That’s something you wouldn’t expect from a 200 mph car.
Another example of fuel economy leadership is the 1-liter EcoBoost engine. Obviously we were able to downsize that engine – 3 cylinder to 1 liter – so you would expect great fuel economy from that type of architecture. But then we go further by delivering 120-plus horsepower and a very flat torque curve. So it’s actually a great engine to drive. It’s a lot of fun to drive and we’ve been getting great reviews in the European press about it.
Q. How do you feel the Go Further brand promise helps distinguish Ford from the competition?
A. It’s that aspect of aspiring to be best-in-class in everything we do and that we’re willing to take the extra step and go further beyond our own expectation but also from a customer expectation… and that surprise and delight that they feel when they drive one of our vehicles.
Q. In what ways do you feel Go Further contributes to the transformation of Ford and particularly the One Ford plan?
A. I think it’s something that we’ve implicitly felt, but now that we’re explicitly saying it, it focuses our efforts. It’s something that we were doing particularly as we were restructuring, and to some extent, rebuilding the business and now maintaining that momentum, keeping those high expectations and having that statement, a brand promise, both for us as well as for our customers.
Q. Do you see any changes ahead in the way your team will operate under the brand promise?
A. I believe it’s going to help us deliver more. We’re very proud of the performance we’ve had over the past couple of years. But we know that we always need to improve our performance and we can’t get lackadaisical.We can’t get relaxed. We need to keep putting in 110 percent in everything we do.