Ford Motor Co. wants to apply its deep understanding of truck customers across its lineup.
The automaker this week formed what it calls an Enterprise Product Line Management group to work with marketing, engineering, mobility and product development teams to overhaul the company's vehicle portfolio. The goal is to better study what customers want and build more profitable, competitive vehicles.
It's an approach Ford has taken with its most popular vehicle: the F-series pickup. The automaker also credits its leadership in commercial vehicles and sports cars to the same obsession with understanding its buyers' specific needs.
"By taking this approach, we can raise the bar across our product lines," Jim Farley, Ford's president of global markets, said in a statement. "Each team will have clear accountability for winning in the marketplace and delivering profitable growth."
Ford's profit margin on its global operations in the second quarter was 2.7 percent, down from 5.1 percent a year earlier. Its North American margin declined to 7.4 percent from 9.5 percent in the second quarter of 2017.
Executives have targeted 8 percent global margins -- 10 percent in North America -- by 2020.
Ford tapped Jim Baumbick as vice president of the new group. Baumbick, who becomes a company officer and reports to Farley, had been executive director of global product planning and strategy.
The formation of the new group comes as Ford prepares a product overhaul. In the coming years, it's cutting virtually all of its traditional car offerings, redesigning many of its crossovers and SUVs and entering new segments such as off-road utilities and midsize trucks. By 2020, Ford plans to have the freshest showroom in the industry with an average vehicle age of 3.3 years.
By 2023, the Ford brand's number of nameplates will rise to 23 from 20 today.
Ford CEO Jim Hackett and other senior executives say the automaker wants to offer products in segments where it knows it can win, and it hopes the new organization can help it get there. It's organizing its products into 10 categories: F series, urban utilities, rugged utilities, family utilities, performance vehicles, commercial vehicles, electric vehicles, compact trucks, luxury vehicles and emerging-market vehicles.