The second largest US automaker has decided to reduce the head count of its numerous regional product platforms by all means necessary, in a drive to increase efficiency, grow revenue margins and decrease costs.
The automaker’s chief executive officer, Mark Fields, says the company’s trials and tribulations on the matter led to numerous moves and strategies that even exceeded original planning. The executive says Ford now will use just eight separate platforms for the global product range, speaking on the matter during an industry conference in Detroit. Back at the start of the new millennium, with Ford’s North and South American, European and Asian units working as virtually independent divisions, the automaker had double the count on global vehicle platforms. Today’s headcount is also one below the internal goal devised for 2016 and “that yields tremendous benefits to improving the rate at which we introduce new vehicles,” commented Fields during the Deutsche Bank Global Industry Conference.
Of course, Ford is not alone in the race to establish new efficiency standards. For example Japanese automakers were among the pioneers of these so called “architectures” that could underpin a model designed for both Asia, Europe and America – with minor modifications to cope with market variations and regulations. The use of shared primary components is a boon for assembly plant flexibility, as well as dropping development and research costs, while it also improves overall economies when trading with the auto suppliers for components. For example, Ford had initial plans of making more than 10 different models (including passenger cars and crossovers) on the basis of the Global-C architecture that is used to underpin its best-selling nameplate, the Focus.