Two years ago, Ford 2000 seemed to be sputtering. That has changed, and much of the credit goes to Jacques Nasser, who will become Ford's chief executive on 1 Janaury.
Rarely has one individual had the impact on a giant company that Nasser has had at Ford. At least in the modern era.
With Nasser applying pressure, Ford has cut costs for six consecutive quarters. It has made hard decisions on soft products, in both Europe and the USA.
Ford 2000 is the vehicle, but Nasser is the turbocharger.
Eighteen months ago he promised to cut costs in Europe and he has delivered.
After taking costs out of the Fiesta and the Ka, Ford posted a $273 million profit last year. In the first half of this year, profits rose 97 percent to $310 million.
There is a long way to go. Ford must succeed with the Focus. But the company no longer considers Europe indistinguishable from the rest of the world, as it did briefly under Ford 2000.
The synergies between Europe and North America are considerable. But Europe needed its own head and Nasser has taken care of that by installing Jim Donaldson as president and Henry Wallace as chief financial officer of Ford of Europe.
Nasser is a proven cost-cutter. Now he has to prove that he is an inspired car-maker.
So far, so good. The Ka and the Puma are his babies. The Focus is the first global car to arise from the leaner, post-Mondeo world of Ford product development.
Nasser is a man of action in a company of reflection. That's a good combination. His teaming with Bill Ford, who will be non-executive chairman, also has great potential. Bill Ford will take the long view. Indeed, he will enforce the long view. But in the short view, few people are as effective as Nasser.