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Mulally: How Less Will Mean More When Ford Cuts Nameplate Count

by on Sep.30, 2010

Fewer nameplates but more product, says Ford CEO Alan Mulally.

While Ford Motor Co. will slash by as much as a third the number of individual nameplates it offers around the world, consumers will likely have more, rather than less products to choose from, said the maker’s CEO Alan Mulally, following the unveiling of the all-new Ford Focus at a Paris Motor Show preview.

The former Boeing executive spoke with TheDetroitBureau.com to clarify comments made during a speech in London, earlier this week, in which Mulally outlined plans to continue the ongoing cutback in Ford’s product count as it sharpens its focus on its core brands.

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Since joining the company, just four years ago, Mulally has reduced the number of nameplates in the Ford stable from 97 to 37, so far largely by selling off European luxury brands Aston Martin, Jaguar, Land Rover and Volvo.  But the cuts won’t stop there.

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Ford Looking To Slash Model Count Says Mulally

CEO betting slimmer line-up will generate fatter profits.

by on Sep.28, 2010

Four of Ford's 37 models will vanish when the Mercury brand is dropped.

Ford Motor Co. may eliminate as many as a third or more of its current nameplates if CEO Alan Mulally has his way, the executive arguing that a slimmer line-up will translate into fatter profits for the healthiest of Detroit’s Big Three automakers.

Mulally provided a vague outline of his plan during a speech to the Confederation of British Industry in London, saying he sees as few as 20 products in the Ford portfolio and no more than 25.  That compares with the current count of 36 individual models.  And that’s already down sharply.

“There will be less than 30, on our way to 20 to 25,” Mulally said when asked about the future Ford line-up. “Fewer brands means you can put more focus into improving the quality of engineering.”

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Such a move would run in sharp contrast to the general industry trend dubbed fragmentation.  As competition has heated up over the years manufacturers have responded by offering more and more niche products — sometimes filling in white space that their lines didn’t previously cover but also by offering multiple products where one model previously sufficed.

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