Ford’s new Product Strategy
A year after taking over from Bill Ford, Jr. as president of the Ford Motor Company, Alan Mulally has gone public with the overall outline of Ford’s new product strategy. Dining with reporters recently, Mulally, joined by the head of Ford product development, Derrick Kuzak, and other executives, said what to expect from Ford over the next few years.
First, Ford will be cutting the number of separate platforms on which it builds vehicles by 40% from the current level. Moreover, 70% of its production will be based on only 10 platforms.
Second, it will reduce the number of separate six cylinder engines in production from eight to two. The number of seat frames will drop from 28 to 2. Mulally referred to these moves as “the all-time opportunity.”
Third, Ford will not attempt to market a global luxury brand. It is, as is well-known, selling Jaguar and Land Rover. It will not attempt to move any Ford product into that segment of the market. Mulally pointed out, in this context, that other automakers who have tried to move into the luxury market have failed, specifically citing Volkswagen as an example.
Fourth, Mazda is a part of Ford’s core strategy. Ford owns the controlling interest in Mazda and has already, in some, instances integrated Mazda platforms into the Ford product line. Mulally said that Mazda “is part of our plan going forward.”
That, of course, is what Mulally sees as the future.
The reality today is that Ford’s market share fell in July to 12.5%, down about ½%.