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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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