DETROIT - During press and industry preview days at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS), Deutsche Bank hosted a global automotive industry conference. Several members of the Ford leadership team including President and CEO Alan Mulally, COO Mark Fields, Executive Vice President of Global Marketing, Sales and Service and Lincoln Jim Farley, Group Vice President of Global Product Development Raj Nair and CFO Bob Shanks shared insights into Ford’s global business during this conference.
Throughout this week @Ford will share portions of the Ford presentation which covered:
- One Ford and the global product development strategy
- Platform consolidation and efficiency metrics
- Sustainability and technology
- Lincoln Motor Company
- Ford Motor Company products
At the start of the panel discussion, Mulally greeted the audience made up of news media before introducing Nair who ran through summary of the business.
“It has been a significant year for Ford and Lincoln,” said Nair. “Tonight we hope to outline for you just how our One Ford strategy will help us serve all markets delivering profitable growth for all through 2014.”
One Ford and the Global Product Development strategy
For this portion, Nair reiterated the basis of the One Ford plan which involves:
- Continuing to aggressively restructure to operate profitably at the current demand and changing model mix
- Accelerating the development of new products customers want and value
- Financing the Ford plan and improving the balance sheet
- Furthering the way the way employees work together effectively as one team – leveraging the company’s global assets
With regard to product development all of this means Ford will remain committed to delivering a balanced global portfolio that delivers industry leading product freshness, sets efficiency benchmarks, utilizes the potential of the world class One Ford team and maintains focus on the primary product pillars; Green, Safe, Smart and Quality.
“We know consumers want it all,” said Nair. “They want cars that offer bold, emotive designs that also are great to drive and are great to sit in. Additionally, fuel economy has become a number one reason to buy so we need to ensure we continue to offer products that deliver competitive fuel efficiency along with exceptional value and undeniable quality.”
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.
“Reducing our platform count allows us to gain efficiencies of scale across the business,” said Nair before outlining how Ford has moved from using 27 vehicle platforms in 2007 to using only 15 in 2014 with 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.
Nair explained that 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.
In order to maintain this momentum, Nair said it is important to maintain the freshness of the company’s product offerings and that 2014 will be an important year with the launch of 23 new or refreshed vehicles across the globe.
*Come back tomorrow for a summary of the sustainability, technology and quality portions of the presentation.