Ford’s Move To Just Five Flexible Architectures An ‘Evolution’ Of One Ford Strategy

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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.”

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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.

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(Source: Automotive News)

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Written by Aaron Brzozowski

Aaron Brzozowski is a writer and motoring enthusiast from Detroit with an affinity for '80s German steel. He is not active on the Twitter these days, but you may send him a courier pigeon.

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14 Comments

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  1. Since Ford has decided it is out of the sedan market, giving up to foreign mfrs. and GM maybe they should just go to one platform. Perhaps F150, and its variations, all day everyday. Let’s see Ford become entirely irrelevant just like Isuzu and Mitsubishi. Less is more.

  2. This is excellent! The market calls for a leaner and meaner Ford and they’re on the right path. Cost savings from development is an excellent strategy for long-term viability in the market.

    This unified architecture should also increase reliability of it’s vehicles as well as there would be fewer platforms to manage and fewer points of failure from design to market. Who’s complaining about that?

    I’m glad to see this more nimble Ford for once. They need to hurry and get more compelling products on the market, although, I know we’re expecting redesigns of the Explorer, Edge,EcoSport, and Mustang pretty soon.

    • Maybe if they stop producing trucks, and only produce 1 SUV their economy of scale and quality will dominate the market. Excellent idea.

      • Well that’s a silly comment. Ford plans to replace the sedans with new models. There’s not going to be a shortage of Ford models, just a shortage of cars.

        As a multi-billion dollar company, I’m going to assume they have more foresight then the keyboard warriors on these forums.

        • Just to let you know Ford stated no sedans just producing SUVs, CUVs, Mustangs, a Focus of some sort, and trucks. Ford was a car company, and now basically out of sedan market. Multi billion dollar car companies have gone and are going out of business. What a pretentious genius you are. Silly answer Ford hack. PS: I love my 2017 Ford Fusion Sport. Keyboard warrior your butt.

          • ….that’s exactly what I said. “Ford plans to replace sedans with new models. There’s not going to be a shortage of Ford models, just a shortage of cars.”

            Ford is replacing cars with new models (SUVs, CUVs), there will still be two cars. The Mustang and the Focus Active.

            I’m not being pretentious, I have actually not made a judgement in my comment at all. I simply stated that Ford probably had a little more foresight into their multi-billion dollar business than you. At the end of the day, Ford is a business that needs to grow and evolve with the market. The market it speaking with their dollar and Ford is responding. Also note, this culling of sedans is a US-market thing only. There are however, leanings of SUV/CUV buying habits in other regions (Europe specifically) as well. Sedans still sell great in China.

            They’re looking at their bottom line, not your posts Michael. Sedans aren’t selling in the US, regardless of how much you love your Fusion sport. P.S., I love my Ford Mustang GT as well.

            • You are so right. As in forethought of buying Volvo. Range Rover, Jaguar, and etc. . They will lose market share, prestige and loyal customers. Really cars aren’t selling. You better look at the millions of cars sold a year in USA. Cycles of vehicle sales , minivans were going to eliminate cars, wrong. I give up to your superior intellect. You must be a Ford hack.

  3. Ford is losing on cars because they stopped supporting them like they do truck and SUVs. They wasted money on development of a sports CAR that they will never make money on, and its a sports CAR. Ford bought a train station to rehavb into some science fiction project. They should have put it in making cars that are competitive. Why can MB, VW, Audi, Toyota, and etc. make money on cars, and lots of them? If you don’t like opinion then state that on the Ford Authority. “No opinions necessary unless you agree with Ford hacks.” If you don’t know what hack means then I am sorry for the state of education today.

  4. My car is a stock Z06 if I wanted to put several thousand more into my old Vette in mods it would blow away your little ‘stang, and in style. No longer wanted to spend money or make modifications just want a great car. I still like Mustangs, go down to Steeda in Pompano, but speed and low weight come easily to Corvettes.

  5. If you don’t want opinion on this line just say so. State “No opinion wanted. Only agree with whatever we put out.” If you don’t understand what hack means it just points out how bad the education system is today.

    • Lol. Dude, you’re like debating a wall. You type stream of though without anything to back it up like a 14 year old on the internet.

      My original point is this: Ford is losing money on cars, the market is moving away from cars, so Ford is going to stop making them. That’s good business sense for financial security and investor confidence.

      Your opinion is whatever your opinion is. This is not a D-measuing contest, I was attempting to have a valid conversation with ya, but I can see that’s clearly a fruitless task.

      I’m happy for you and your Z06 and I’m happy that I’ve made lots of modifications to my little “stang”. You’re on a Ford forums buddy, you’ll find no quarter here.

      • Genius, self assessed to be sure.
        You are so pompous and pretentious like a 12 year old who is the teacher’s pet.
        If other companies make money on sedans maybe there is a problem with management.
        If you had a brain in that space you would have read that my family car is a 2017 Ford Fusion Sport. Its is over. I had hoped you had stopped your senseless garbage. Done. So sad.

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