Ford Motor Company recently announced a significant acceleration of its transformation plan with the addition of several new fuel-efficient small vehicles in North America from Europe and a realignment of its North American manufacturing.
The actions represent a considerable shift in Ford’s North American product plans and investments toward smaller vehicles and fuel-efficient powertrains in both the near- and mid-term in line with rapid changes in customer buying preferences.
In addition to bringing six small vehicles to North America from the company’s European lineup, Ford is accelerating the introduction of fuel-efficient EcoBoost and all-new four-cylinder engines, boosting hybrid production and converting three existing truck and SUV plants for small car production, beginning this December.
Ford’ transformation plan calls for:
- Aggressively restructuring to operate profitably at the current demand and changing model mix.
- Accelerating the development of new products that customers want and value.
- Financing the plan and improving the balance sheet.
- Working together effectively as one team, leveraging Ford’s global assets.
Ford will convert three existing North American truck and SUV plants for small car production, with the first conversion beginning this December.
The moves are in addition to Ford’s announcements in May and June that it is reducing its North American production plans for large trucks and SUVs for the remainder of 2008, as well as increasing production of smaller cars and crossovers.
Among the manufacturing realignment actions:
- Michigan Truck Plant in Wayne, Mich., which currently builds the Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator full-size SUVs, will be converted beginning this December to production of small cars derived from Ford’s global C-car platform in 2010.
- Production of the Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator will be moved to the Kentucky Truck Plant in Louisville, Ky., early next year.
- Cuautitlan Assembly Plant in Mexico, which currently produces F-Series pickups, will be converted to begin production of the new Fiesta small car for North America in early 2010. Louisville (Ky.) Assembly Plant, which builds the Ford Explorer mid-size SUV, will be converted to produce small vehicles from Ford’s global C-car platform beginning in 2011.
- Twin Cities (Minn.) Assembly Plant – which was scheduled to close in 2009 – will continue production of the Ford Ranger through 2011 to meet consumer demand for the compact pickup.
- As previously announced, Kansas City Assembly Plant this year will add a third crew to its small utility line for the Ford Escape, Escape Hybrid and Mercury Mariner and Mariner Hybrid.
The Ford, Lincoln, Mercury line will be almost completely upgraded by the end of 2010, including:
- 2009 Ford F-150, on sale in late fall with the most capability, most choice and most smart features of any full-size pickup, and with more than a 7 percent fuel economy improvement
- 2010 Ford Fusion, Mercury Milan, Lincoln MKZ sedans, on sale in early 2009, with Fusion’s and
- Milan’s four-cylinder fuel economy expected to top Honda Accord and Toyota Camry
- 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid and Mercury Milan Hybrid, beginning production late this year and on sale in early 2009 – with fuel economy expected to top the Toyota Camry hybrid
- New Ford Mustang – coupe, convertible, and glass-roof models – in early 2009
- New Ford Taurus sedan – with EcoBoost engine and even more advanced safety and convenience technologies – in mid-2009
- New European Transit Connect small multi-purpose van in mid-2009
- New Lincoln seven-passenger crossover – with EcoBoost engine – in mid-2009
- New European Ford Fiesta, in both four- and five-door versions, in early 2010
- New European Ford Focus, in both four- and five-door versions, in 2010
- New Mercury small car in 2010
- New European small vehicle that will be a “whitespace” entry in North America in 2010
- Next-generation Ford Explorer – with unibody construction, EcoBoost, six-speed, weight savings and improved aerodynamics for up to 25 percent better fuel economy – in 2010
The improvements build on several Ford fuel economy leaders today, such as:
- 2009 Ford Flex, which is the most fuel-efficient standard seven-passenger vehicle on the market, topping the 2009 Honda Pilot
- 2009 Ford Focus, with highway fuel economy of up to 35 mpg – better than the smaller 2008 Honda Fit and 2009 Nissan Versa SL and a key reason Focus retail sales are up 50 percent
- 2009 Escape, with a new 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and six-speed transmission delivering best-in-class highway fuel economy of 28 mpg – ahead of Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V
- 2009 Ford Escape Hybrid, delivering 34 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway, making it the most fuel-efficient utility vehicle available.