On Dec. 5, 1984, Ford launched a new line of “world trucks” combining its engineering, manufacturing and commercial vehicle expertise from North America, South America and Europe. Built in Brazil, that 1985 Cargo line featured a North American-designed chassis and powertrain and low-tilt, forward-control cab that won European Truck of the Year honors in 1982. Although Ford is no longer in the commercial truck business in North America or Europe, Ford of Brazil sells about 40,000 Cargos a year across South America.
Introducing the new truck line in Detroit at the Society of Automotive Engineers’ annual truck and bus meting, company president Donald Petersen said it marked the culmination of a four-year project involving product, engineering and manufacturing experts from three continents. “This new Cargo has no nationality other than Ford,” he added.
Petersen’s comments on the Cargo project still ring true for today’s automotive business. With increasing global competition, manufacturers will work more closely than ever with smaller numbers of suppliers to improve quality and reduce costs. “We’ve got to extend the team concept,” said Petersen, “to everyone involved in designing, building and selling our products.”