FORD is slashing its portfolio of vehicle platforms in a bid to reduce costs by AU$34.3 billion between now and 2025. The latest cull intends to move all vehicles globally onto just five modular platforms.
Hau Thai-Tang, Ford’s head of product development and purchasing, spoke at the 2018 J.P. Morgan Auto Conference explaining to shareholders that under this plan the The Blue Oval will be able to produce a wider range of cars while simultaneously reducing costs.
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Ford’s five architectures moving forward will include a rear-wheel/all-wheel drive body-on-frame platform, a rear-wheel/all-wheel drive unibody, a commercial van unibody, a front-wheel/all-wheel drive unibody and a unibody platform that covers off Ford’s battery-electric vehicle ventures.
It’s a plan that continues the work of former CEO Alan Mulally’s One Ford proposal, which has already seen the company reduce its number of platforms by more than two-thirds, from 30 to nine. The One Ford plan helped the company navigate the Global Financial Crisis with relative success, while some other manufacturers struggled.
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“This is not saying One Ford was wrong. This is building on the strategy of One Ford and evolving from it,” Thai-Tang said in comments reported by Automotive News. Thai-Tang also said up to 70 percent of a vehicle’s cost can be managed through modular platforms.
Ford expects to save US$7 billion (AU$9.6 billion) on product development and engineering costs while also reducing the amount of time it takes to develop new models by 20 percent.