The so-called “One Ford” strategy enacted by former Ford Motor Company CEO Alan Mulally, which saw the automaker embracing greater commonality between products sold in disparate markets across the globe, has proven one of the most successful, enduring automotive strategies in recent memory. Ford’s announcement this year that it would drop traditional sedans from its North American lineup, even while such models continue to sell in other markets, could be taken as a sign that Ford is ready to move on, though.
Not so, according to Ford Executive VP of Product Development and Purchasing Hau Thai-Tang. Speaking at the 2018 J.P. Morgan Auto Conference in New York last week, Thai-Tang characterized Ford’s current strategy – including its adoption of five flexible automotive “architectures” in place of traditional platforms – as an “evolution” of Mulally’s One Ford.
“This is not saying One Ford was wrong,” Hau Thai-Tang said. “This is building on the strategy of One Ford and evolving from it.”
The five architectures include:
- Transverse unibody
- Longitudinal unibody
- Longitudinal body-on-frame
- Commercial van unibody
- Battery-electric unibody
Transverse platforms are those in which the engine and transaxle are mounted width-wise within the vehicle, allowing for front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. Longitudinal platforms are those in which the engine and transmission are mounted length-wise, allowing for RWD/AWD.
Shifting to these five architectures is expected to help Ford boost its engineering efficiency by 20 to 40 percent per vehicle, with the hopes of saving $7 billion in engineering and development costs over five years, while decreasing the amount of time from sketch to showroom by 20 percent. Hau Thai-Tang says the move will also help Ford boost the efficiency of its supply base by allowing for more parts- and module-sharing between vehicles. According to him, as much as 70 percent of a vehicle’s value can be managed through a modular approach.
(Source: Automotive News)