Ford said today that its new structure designates global product development centers in specific regions for vehicle segments. The goal is to reduce the amount of time it takes to bring a new vehicle to market, cut development costs and reduce duplication in engineering and purchasing.
For instance, small cars -- such as the upcoming Fiesta -- would be designed, developed and engineered in Europe. Big pickups, such as the F-150, would be created in North America, while compact trucks would be developed in Asia and Africa.
Ford spokesman Todd Nissen said that last week’s sale of Jaguar and Land Rover accelerated the changes to product development and purchasing.
Derrick Kuzak, Ford’s group vice president of global product development, said in a statement: “These changes will allow us to fully leverage Ford’s global product development and purchasing organizations to create more customer-focused vehicles faster.”
Ford says it will start the new structure this month and roll it out with new vehicle programs. No layoffs or large-scale relocations are planned, Ford said.
Ford will rely on Europe for a large portion of its future car development and has named the following European executives:
Marin Burela, B segment, vehicle line director. A B segment vehicle is a small car such as the Ford Fiesta.
Gunnar Herrmann, C segment, vehicle line director. A C segment car is a compact the size of a Ford Focus.
Steve Adams, CD segment, vehicle line director. A CD segment car is a mid-sized car the size of a Ford Fusion or Taurus.
Phil Collareno, commercial vehicles, vehicle line director. This includes the Transit Connect small van coming to the United States in 2009.
Nissen said all of the vehicle line directors report to Joe Bakaj, vice president of product programs and product development.
Tony Brown, group vice president of global purchasing, said the changes will improve Ford’s relationships with its global suppliers. Ford last year ranked last in two studies of how well automakers work with suppliers.
“Better alignment of our resources not only helps Ford -- it will also improve the way we do business with our global supply base by simplifying our sourcing process,” Brown said in the company statement.
“This is consistent with the principles of our aligned business framework, which is strengthening collaboration with our key suppliers.”
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