Ford Motor Co.'s push to share vehicle platforms globally has helped the company reduce vehicle engineering costs by at least 60 percent and factory update expenses by at least 40 percent, CFO Lewis Booth said today.
He cited the reductions from 2005 to 2008 and said further improvement is ongoing.
Ford's global nameplate count went from 97 in 2006 to 59 last year, he said at an analyst conference in London.
Trimming the number of nameplates also is allowing Ford to plan to decrease the average age of its portfolio by 20 percent from 2009 to 2014, Booth said. By 2012, the automaker plans to have redesigned or greatly refreshed 70 to 90 percent of its vehicle offerings from this year.
By 2014, it expects to have redone all of its 2009 portfolio, with 40 to 60 percent of its vehicles on their second redesign since this year.
These changes are part of Ford's way of adjusting to the “new world order,” Booth said.
“At Ford, we'd like not just to survive this crisis but also to use it as an opportunity,” he said.
In addition to summarizing some of Ford's restructuring, Booth said he was “puzzled” by Thursday's announcement about the upcoming sale of General Motors Co.'s Opel brand to a consortium led by Canadian supplier Magna International Inc. and Russian bank Sberbank.
“I lost a bet yesterday,” Booth said.
Under the sale agreement, Magna and Sberbank will own 55 percent of Opel, GM 35 percent and employees 10 percent.
Booth said he “can't quite conceive” of a company owned that way. A major question in his mind, he said, is how the new ownership controls Opel's production capacity.