Ford Reveals Coming Product Storm

With Ford’s business “fitness” in good shape, CEO Jim Hackett and his team are launching a major product blitz including more trucks and SUVs and electrification offerings in every model from the F-150 to the Mustang.

Bob Gritzinger, Editor-in-Chief

March 15, 2018

3 Min Read
Future small offroader will join Bronco in SUV lineup
Future small off-roader will join Bronco in SUV lineup.

DEARBORN, MI – As cars decline, trucks and SUVs will make up 86% of Ford’s lineup by 2020, including four new trucks and SUVs that will be part of a wider range of electrified offerings, company officials outline at a media briefing here.

Among the vehicles slated for hybridization starting in 2020 are the F-150 pickup, Explorer, Escape and Bronco SUVs and the Mustang, followed by six battery-electric vehicles by 2022. Among the BEVs is the performance SUV announced as the Mach 1 at the North American International Auto Show in January.

Ford CEO Jim Hackett says the coming product blitz – the Dearborn automaker plans to replace more than 75% of its current models in the next two years – is made possible by the work done by his leadership team during the past 10 months to transform Ford into a leaner and faster-acting company.

“Our renewed fitness will allow us to bring products to market even faster through our work speeding up product development, reducing complexity and improving quality throughout systems and in our vehicles, and taking a human-centered approach that leverages our platforms and technology to deliver higher return on investment,” Hackett says.

Joe Hinrichs, president-global operations, says the coming product onslaught is made possible by creating a highly efficient product-development operation that shaves time from sketch to showroom by 20%, while trimming $4 billion in engineering costs over the next five years.

A large part of the revamp includes deriving every Ford product from one of five flexible architectures: front-wheel-drive unibody, rear-drive unibody, commercial-van unibody, body-on-frame or battery-electric platform. Reducing order combinations is reducing complexity and saving money, Hinrichs adds.

Ford’s focus on trucks and utility vehicles isn’t a surprise – light trucks overtook cars as a percentage of Ford’s U.S. sales in 1995, Wards Intelligence shows. Light trucks grew to 74.1% of the automaker’s sales in 2017 and topped 78% for the first two months of this year, the data shows.

That percentage will increase as the completely redesigned Escape and Explorer – representing the majority of the automaker’s utility-vehicle volume –  join the all-new EcoSport and Expedition in the Ford utility-vehicle lineup, says Jim Farley, president-global marketing.

Two off-road targeted models follow: “a small SUV purpose-built for getting off the highway,” Farley says, and the long-anticipated return of the Bronco. Not overlooked in the SUV product push is Lincoln, which will field two new SUVs by 2020 and four more after that with electrification across the premium brand’s lineup, Farley promises.

Lincoln won’t be alone in the electrification push, says Farley, noting every time Ford launches a new utility vehicle in North America the company intends to have a hybrid version ready as well.

Ford executives make little mention of future car models beyond the Mustang and its derivatives such as the GT350 and Shelby GT500; the Mustang and compact Focus reportedly may be the Ford brand’s only remaining car nameplates once the product onslaught is complete.

In addition to electrification, technology also gets attention with the rollout of a new suite of safety features dubbed Co-Pilot 360 and slated for availability on every Ford model by 2020. Co-Pilot 360 includes automatic emergency braking (vehicle and pedestrian), blindspot monitoring, lane-keeping assistance, backup camera and automatic high-beam headlights.

Finally, Farley assures performance will stay in the Ford portfolio, including the Mustang Shelby GT500, ST derivatives of the Edge and next-generation Explorer and finally the Mustang-inspired, zero-emission 4-door Mach 1 SUV.

“I’ll make a prediction,” Farley says. “We’re not going to have to shoot it into space to make it famous.”

[email protected] @bobgritzinger

About the Author(s)

Bob Gritzinger

Editor-in-Chief, WardsAuto

Bob Gritzinger is Editor-in-Chief of WardsAuto and also covers Advanced Propulsion & Technology for Wards Intelligence.

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