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Old 12-19-2006, 17:05   #1 (permalink)
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US:Kuzak wants Ford to think globally

Product Push

Kuzak wants Ford to think globally

By RICK KRANZ | AUTOMOTIVE NEWS
AutoWeek

DETROIT -- Derrick Kuzak, Ford Motor Co.'s new head of global product development, is accelerating the automaker's plans to have a wide range of global vehicle platforms.

Specifically, the automaker's worldwide subsidiaries will give up some of their independence and be required to think globally, said company spokeswoman Sara Tatchio.

The subsidiaries will need to work with other regions of the world to create a wider range of global platforms and components. They will need to develop a wider range of models off those platforms. Current vehicle platforms also will be reviewed for global applications, Tatchio said.

Kuzak, group vice president of global product development, will report directly to Ford CEO Alan Mulally.

Jim Hall, vice president of AutoPacific, a consulting company in Southfield, Mich., says Ford needs a focal point for global product: "They are globalizing platforms, and they have to have somebody who is accountable, understands why you are going to do it and make sure it happens."

Kuzak was vice president of product development at Ford of Europe, and helped develop the subsidiary's C1 vehicle platform. Among the vehicles built on that platform are the Volvo S40 and V50, the Ford Focus and Focus C-Max, and the Mazda3 and Mazda5.

In August 2005, Kuzak returned to the United States and later became group vice president of product development for the Americas.

The announcement is a progression of the vehicle development process that has been in place, Tatchio said. Besides the vehicles off the C1 platform, the Ford Fusion, Mercury Milan and Lincoln MKZ were developed off the Mazda6 platform. The Ford Five Hundred and Mercury Montego originated from a Volvo platform.

Before the announcement, the regions "were working together in a cooperative way," Tatchio said. With the Kuzak announcement, she said, Ford is making sure product development is accomplished "in the most efficient way, by having one person lead."
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