Ford to develop cars based on vehicle size
14,000 workers to be reassigned in plan to cut production time
By Bloomberg News
DEARBORN -- Ford Motor Co. will start developing vehicles in North America based on car size rather than consumer preference in an effort to speed introductions of new models.
The plan involves reassigning 14,000 employees and is aimed at helping the company use the same parts for different vehicles, reducing costs. No job cutbacks are involved, Ford spokesman Todd Nissen said.
Ford wants to cut the time it takes to develop new Ford, Lincoln and Mercury models by 25 percent, from as long as 32 months, said Phil Martens, a Ford vice president.
Ford already is converting factories so it's easier to build more models at the same plant. The company has said such flexible manufacturing will save it as much as $2 billion during the next 10 years.
Auto development will be divided into four categories that will each have an executive director: small cars; most medium and large vehicles; sport utility vehicles and some large rear-wheel-drive cars; and pickups and commercial trucks. North American product development will also get an executive charged with increasing vehicle quality. The operations had been organized by marketing designations: Tough Truck; Outfitters; Family; Lifestyle; and Lincoln-Mercury.
Ford has 18 vehicle platforms, which will be cut to 12 by 2010, Martens said.
Martens also said Ford will work to develop new models with Mazda Motor Corp., where Martens was managing director of product planning. Ford owns one-third of Mazda, based in Hiroshima, Japan.
My first car was a 67 Mustang Coupe, 2nd one was a 67 Cougar XR-7, 3rd one was a 66 Mustang Coupe. Why did I get rid of these cars for ? I know why, because I'm stupid, stupid, stupid.
My next Ford.....