When Ford Motor Co. and Volvo engineers were designing common parts and systems for their next-generation small cars in Cologne, Germany, they found that they had different ways to handle car bodies in the paint and body shops.
"Body reference points were one of the most important things," says Magnus Jonsson, Volvo senior vice president of project management. "We have one that starts at the front of the car, and Ford has a system that starts in the middle of the car."
The systems had to be harmonized. Volvo compromised by building the flexibility to handle both systems into its body and paint shops in Ghent, Belgium.
Ford, Mazda and Volvo had to work out hundreds of similar compromises in their C Technologies program. C Technologies gathered engineers from the three brands in Cologne to develop one of the largest platform programs in history - the next- generation Ford Focus, Volvo S40 and V50, and Mazda3, which replaces the Protege, will share 60 percent of their components and systems.