TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- Ford Motor Co.’s purchasing chief today highlighted some of the innovations created with suppliers on the all-new Mustang sports car and F-150 pickup.
Ford is in the midst of a year with 23 global product launches, including 16 in North America.
Like other automakers, Ford’s relationship with its supply chain varies year-to-year. Ford this year ranked fourth out of six North American automakers in the annual Planning Perspectives Inc. survey of how auto suppliers view their customers.
The survey rated Ford’s supplier relationships as “adequate,” behind Toyota, Honda, and Nissan. Ford ranked ahead of Chrysler and General Motors.
Hau Thai-Tang, group vice president for Ford global purchasing, appearing in front of the supplier community at the 2014 Management Briefing Seminars here, showcased these technologies appearing on the 2015 vehicles:
- Quarter windows, 2015 Mustang 50 Year Limited Edition: Ford and Magna International Inc. created quarter windows consisting of louvered glass.
- Hydroformed A-pillar and roof rails, 2015 Mustang: Schuler Inc. and Midway Products worked with Ford on the heaviest-gauge steel hydroformed A-pillar and roof rails. Torsional stiffness increased 28 percent for the new car while the body-in-white was lighter than the previous model, Ford said.
- High-strength steel frame, 2015 F-150: Although the vehicle is the first pickup with an aluminum body, Ford worked with Metalsa S.A. on its steel frame. The result was a frame that is 60 pounds lighter with improved rigidity, Ford said.
- LED headlamps, 2015 F-150: Suppliers Osram GmbH and Flex-n-Gate Corp. worked with Ford to design a headlamp design that “saves energy, is designed for longevity, and casts a much brighter and clearer light down the road than halogen or incandescent lamps,” Ford said.
“Considering the impact suppliers have on our business, with 70 percent of the value of the vehicle being purchased from our supplier partners, our suppliers are critical to our ability to offer attractive solutions to our customers,” Thai-Tang said in a statement.
Ford said it has relationships with more than 1,100 production suppliers operating at more than 4,600 manufacturing sites. Those operations make 130,000 parts for inclusion in Ford vehicles, the company said.