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Posts Tagged ‘One Ford’

Ford Teases New Focus RS Before February Debut

Flagship performance compact will be offered in the U.S. for first time.

by on Jan.22, 2015

Ford officials said a performance edition of the Focus, the RS, would be coming soon. Now we get a glimpse.

At an end-of-the-year briefing at company headquarters in Michigan, Ford officials confirmed that the maker would be launching an all-new version of the high-performance Focus RS. They just didn’t bother to say when or where.

With the release of the first teaser video of the new RS, Ford has at least confirmed that the new model will make its world debut on Feb. 3. And while it still isn’t revealing what’s under the hood, it appears the new RS will live up to expectations for some serious muscle – some estimates running as high as 400 horsepower bursting from a 2.3-liter turbocharged four.

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The video shows an undisguised Mk3 Focus RS blasting around Ford’s Lommel Proving Grounds in Belgium, performing some aggressive drifts that have raised questions about whether the compact model will maintain its front-drive layout or, for the first time, switch to an all-wheel-drive configuration. (more…)

Ford Slashes Global Product Platform Count

Fewer platforms but more new products.

by on Jan.19, 2015

Ford's new CEO Mark Fields with the 2015 Edge, one of many new models based on Ford's global platforms.

Hoping to improve its efficiency, driving up margins and driving down costs, Ford has been pushing to eliminate as many regional product platforms as possible. And it’s found ways to go further than originally planned, according to the maker’s CEO.

It will now use just eight separate platforms for its global product line-up, said CEO Mark Fields, during an appearance at an industry confab in Detroit. That’s barely half as many as it had at the beginning of the new millennium, when Ford’s North and South American, European and Asian operations functioned as virtually autonomous entities. And it’s one lower than the goal the maker had set for itself by 2016.

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“That yields tremendous benefits to improving the rate at which we introduce new vehicles,” noted CEO Fields during his comments at the Deutsche Bank Global Industry Conference.


Ford Sees Light at End of European Tunnel

Maker remains committed to be back in black by 2015.

by on Jul.12, 2013

Ford's European chief Stephen Odell believes the maker is finally back on track and headed for a 2015 break-even.

Europe’s car market has been akin to a black hole for the past for the past six years, leaving manufacturers desperate to find a way out of the morass.  Ford Motor Co. has been one of the hardest-hit, last year running $1.7 billion into the red on the Continent.

Nevertheless, the maker insists it is finally seeing some positive signs in Europe. “It’s beginning to show signs of stability,” said Stephen Odell , executive vice president and president of Europe, Middle East and Africa, during a Thursday evening a briefing at Ford’s suburban Detroit headquarters. Those signs indicate the market for new vehicles in the Euro zone has finally stopped shrinking, though Odell stressed that does not mean a swift turnaround.

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“The European market should start growing next year,” Odell said, adding the growth will be slow and modest over the next several years. “I don’t see a V-shaped recovery. The GDP growth will be slow,” he said. “But most of the indices are pointing towards recovery,” he said.


Ford Adding 2,200 New Salaried Jobs

The “direct result” of the One Ford plan, says new president.

by on Jan.11, 2013

Joe Hinrichs became Ford's new President of the Americas last month.

Ford Motor Company plans to hire 2,200 salaried workers in the U.S. this year – the largest increase in new salaried workers in more than a decade.

The move comes a day after the market announced it would double its quarterly dividend in recognition of its improving financial condition. The maker yielded a more than 11% profit margin for the first nine months in its core North American operations.

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After years of deep cuts, the auto industry has been among the most aggressive sectors of the economy when it comes to adding jobs over the last several years, Ford’s announcement coming a day after both Honda and General Motors announced significant plans to recruit more blue and white-collar workers of their own.


Ford Produces Milestone 350 Millionth Vehicle

Thai-made Focus symbolic of maker's big transformation.

by on Aug.31, 2012

Ford's 350 millionth vehicles, a red Focus sedan, rolls down the assembly line in Rayong, Thailand today.

It looked pretty much like any other Ford Focus as it rolled down the maker’s assembly line in the Bangkok suburb of Rayong early Friday morning.  But the compact sedan marked a major milestone for the automaker – as the 350 millionth vehicle has produced in its nearly 110-year history.

The event was significant for more than just the raw numbers.  The sedan symbolizes the dramatic transformation that has been shaking up Ford as it evolves from a worldwide network of regional fiefdoms into an integrated system producing global products like the Focus.

Equally noteworthy is the fact that the Rayong plant was chosen to mark the occasion.  The Asian market has become increasingly important to Ford – and its rivals.  The maker will soon operate nine plants in the region – including the newest of six in China for which Ford CEO Alan Mulally helped break ground earlier this week.

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“Producing 350 million vehicles is equivalent to producing one vehicle every 10 seconds for our 109-year history. If placed end to end, the vehicles would stretch to the moon and back – twice,” said John Fleming, Ford executive vice president of global manufacturing, in a statement.


Ford Denies Search Underway for Mulally Successor

WSJ report claims four candidates under consideration.

by on Dec.06, 2011

Ford terms "false" a report that a search is now underway to replace 66-year-old CEO Alan Mulally.

Ford Motor Co. terms “false” a report that it has begun the search for a successor to well-regarded CEO Alan Mulally.

A report in today’s Wall Street Journal claimed the maker was looking at four potential candidates to assume the helm for the 66-year-old executive, who many expect to retire within the next year or two.  The WSJ report claims four potential candidates are under consideration, echoing an earlier report on that when it comes to finding a successor to Mulally Ford would prefer to draw from the ranks of its current management team.

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But in regards to an ongoing search effort, a Ford statement contends, “The Wall Street Journal story is false. As (Chairman) Bill Ford has consistently said, we will always consider both internal and external candidates for any succession plan, but we do not have a search under way for an external CEO successor.”


Ford To Sell Off Most Of Remaining Mazda Stock

Last-minute hurdles still could scuttle deal, sources say.

by on Oct.19, 2010

Ford is now ready to go it alone without the help of long-time ally Mazda when developing replacements for products like the 2011 Fiesta.

Ford Motor Co. appears ready to sell off most or all of its remaining stake in Japan’s Mazda Motor Corp., several industry sources have confirmed.

Such a move would not only relinquish Ford’s role as the largest Mazda shareholder but also end what has been the longest in-depth relationship between a U.S. and Japanese automaker – one that has helped both makers develop an array of products that might not have been able to bring to market on their own.

The sale, if completed, would mark another milestone in Ford CEO Alan Mulally’s so-called One Ford strategy, which has already led the U.S. maker to sell off an assortment of foreign luxury brands, including Jaguar, Land Rover and Volvo.

In fact, one of Mulally’s first big moves, in 2008, shortly after joining the Detroit maker, was to cut Ford’s stake in Mazda from 33.4% to 13%.  That figure has since declined to 11%.

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“We’re not commenting about reports on our shareholding in Mazda,” Ford spokesman Mark Truby told  “We have a close relationship with Mazda,” he added, “that spans 30 years.”

But other sources, both in the U.S. and Japan, told that Ford is, indeed, negotiating a sell-off of its remaining stake – which was once large enough that the U.S. maker was able to appoint its own representative to run the Japanese company.


Focus’ Chief Engineer Takes Sail

Jens Ludman leaves Ford of Europe to join Bavaria Yacht GmbH

by on Jul.13, 2010

Ford chief engineer Jens Ludman is trading in his Focus for one of these as he becomes the new CEO of Bavaria Yachts.

The chief engineer who was responsible for development of the latest-generation Ford Focus is leaving Ford of Europe to join a German pleasure boat builder as chief executive officer.

Jens Ludman, global chief engineer for Ford in Germany, spent 11 years with the automaker and oversaw projects including the S-Max and Mondeo. He will join Bavaria Yacht GmbH beginning Aug. 15.

“The Bavaria brand has a long-standing history in boating, which will enable us to bring fresh and exciting products to the market that are relevant to a wider audience of boating enthusiasts,” Ludman said.

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On the surface, it would seem that the automotive and boat businesses are dramatically different, but Bavaria’s leaders think Ludman will help the company accelerate its plans for growth.


Second Look: 2011 Ford C-Max

An all-new, now production-ready, minivan debuts at Geneva.

by on Feb.22, 2010

The Grand C-Max provides seven passenger seating in a relatively small compact package. There are sliding rear doors on both sides.

Ford’s next-generation of small, multi-activity vehicles, C-Max and Grand C-Max, will appear in their final production versions at the Geneva Motors Show.

Teasers versions of the vans appeared at the Frankfurt Motor Show last September. (Click here.)

Ford is also announcing technology “enhancements” for the Ford Kuga and Mondeo, plus revealing additional options for the new S-Max and Galaxy at Geneva.

The C-Max range, which goes on sale later this year in Europe, are by U.S. standards mini-minivans, but a stretched version of the five-passenger C-Max, dubbed “Grand,” will eventually find its way to North American shores, along with a revised Focus somewhere around 2012.

One Ford, at least in the Focus line, at last.

This will end one of Ford managements’ truly bonehead decisions – keeping the old generation Focus on sale while it was long past its prime by refusing to collaborate with Ford Europe and Ford Asia-Pacific on the second generation Focus, which has been on sale – successfully – elsewhere for six years now.   (more…)

Ford Super Sizes Euro C-Max for 2012 N.A. Launch

American execs skipped last round of European products, losing their big bet on trucks. Now six Euro vehicles are promised.

by on Sep.17, 2009


Grand C-Max offers seven passenger seating.

The Ford C-Max compact crossover that debuted at the Frankfurt Motor Show this year is notable not only for the addition of a seven-passenger version to the freshened five-passenger model, but it will be the first of gen 2.5 compact C-cars that will belatedly find their way into North American markets.

The new Grand C-Max provides seven passenger seating in a relatively small compact package. There are sliding rear doors on both sides of the van. And anyone who has ever wrestled with getting a child into a child seat will love this; and even if you don’t have younger children – this Chrysler minivan inspired touch – makes loading so much easier.


Owners can choose convenient 2+2+2 seating.

Better still, to maximize the versatility of the 7-seat layout, engineers have developed a new seat folding mechanism for the three second-row seats. It allows the center seat to fold under one of the two outboard seats, creating an aisle between them – especially nice when the outer seats are occupied by child seats or booster cushions. Owners, therefore, have the option of using the convenient 2+2+2 seating layout, or switching to seven-seats if need be.

C-Max will join the new Fiesta, the Transit Connect commercial van and the next-generation Ford Focus in late 2011 as one of six European-designed models promised by the company under its “One Ford” strategy. This roll-out will take a several years to complete.

This long overdue globalization – going all the way back to the failed Ford 2000 reorganization in the 1990s that didn’t deliver the promised common architectures and powertrains – is the recognition by American executives that their strategy, doggedly pursued under various Revitalization Plans of the past decade, actually resulted in record losses in 2008, as customers defected from the large trucks and SUVs that were at its core.

The new C-MAX models previewed at Frankfurt were in pre-production form prior to their European sales launch in late 2010, which means the U.S. version won’t arrive until about a year later.

Japanese makers, notably Toyota and Honda, have rewritten the gradual roll-out practices of the auto industry by offering simultaneous or rapid launches across global markets in less than 12 months.