Team Edison created to ramp up EV development at Ford

Ford won't to walk away from small cars in the US, as FCA has done, but it will pursue more-profitable niche segments, such as sportier versions of the Focus, executives said.

Thus, Hackett plans not to eliminate auto production altogether but to focus on higher-profit versions of small sedans, such as performance vehicles. In a nod towards electrification, Ford is also going to reduce internal combustion engine capital expenditures by one-third and redeploying that capital into electrification. The company has similar plans for China and other markets as 90 percent of Ford's new global vehicles will feature connectivity by 2020.

Hackett said the decision to change was "not easy - culturally or operationally", adding "I feel a real sense of urgency for what we're doing here".

"We must accept the virtues that brought us success over the past century are really no guarantee of future success", he noted at one point in his presentation.

Ford also said there will be less nameplates in the future, though the company hasn't said which existing nameplates will be axed.

When Hackett was appointed, he carried out a 100-day review to assess the firm's strategy.

Investors immediately responded favorably, giving Ford shares a 0.5% bump on Tuesday.

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His vision of Ford was of a more nimble company that was faster to act and more responsive to the changes that threaten to upend the industry than it had been to date.

Ford is working to speed the development of the technology, though. Jim Hackett, CEO Ford recently announced to investors that Ford intends to slit the costs of $14 billion in the following 5 years.

"Ford is not behind on the technology", Sherif Marakby, the head of the company's electric vehicle program, said in an interview Monday.

Ford plans to reallocate $7 billion that had been earmarked for cars to spend instead on SUVs and trucks.

The automaker reaffirmed a goal of achieving 8 per cent automotive operating margins and generating returns that exceed the cost of capital.

Mr. Hackett, who emphasized smart design during his long tenure running Michigan-based Steelcase Inc., wants to slash costs by modernizing and simplifying Ford's vehicle lineup, factories and product-development process. Ford's China sales are forecast to decline 4.6 percent this year, according to LMC Automotive, a far cry from double-digit growth just five years ago.

The automaker will also streamline its products by reducing the number of option packages that it offers on its cars and SUVs.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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