When feeling the stress caused by the sharp downturn in U.S. sales and accelerated shift in demand from trucks to cars, Ford Motor Co.'s Mark Fields finds inspiration from an automotive leader who preceded him.
“Henry Ford said ‘When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it,’” Fields, president-The Americas, says at the Management Briefing Seminars in Traverse City, MI.
“We at Ford see today's environment in the same vein as our founder. We are seizing the opportunity in a dramatic way. And we didn't just start this spring.”
The key, Fields says, will be a previously announced new wave of small, more fuel-efficient vehicles on the way. But he says this isn't completely new territory for Ford.
“Ford already delivers the best small cars in Europe,” he says. “Now it is North America's turn, and we intend to deliver these small cars profitably.”
To do that, Ford's now divergent European and North American Focus compacts will merge onto a single C-car architecture.
“Within five years, Ford will have one C-sized platform that delivers more than 10 body styles globally,” Fields says. “Commonality for the North American and European Focus skyrockets to 90%.”
The annual volume for that single platform will grow to nearly 2 million units, Fields says.