“One Ford” Plan to ‘Evolve’: Global Platforms Down to Five

Cherryl Anne Cruz

How do you slash USD25.5 billion of costs between now and 2025? Simple–just reduce your global platform until you only have five of them left.

Five global architectures is a long way from the original 30 that Ford once had. Still, it’s a strategic step that the carmaker plans to do in the coming years, as it builds on what former CEO Alan Mulally has accomplished during his term.

Mulally’s “One Ford” Plan was one of the company’s driving force in helping it stay afloat during the Great Recession. What’s more, it helped the company avoid bankruptcy by borrowing US$23.6 billion and mortgaging all of Ford’s assets over his five-year reign. He did this by reducing costs, using only common global parts, and limiting their platform from 30 to nine. This move, according to business analysts, was widely responsible for stabilizing Ford’s financial position.

However, Hau Thai-Tang, Ford’s Head of Product Development and Purchasing, thinks it’s time for the the plan to “evolve” and move on to the next level. And while it has done a lot for the company, it failed to achieve its target scale on both the regional and local level.

“This is not saying ‘One Ford’ was wrong,” he said said Wednesday during a presentation to the 2018 J.P. Morgan Auto Conference in New York. “This is building on the strategy of ‘One Ford’ and evolving from it,” he added.

Ford now plans to whittle the numbers more–from nine to five. These platforms will include the following:

  • Rear- and all-wheel drive body-on-frame for pickup trucks and utes
  • Rear- and all-wheel drive unibody, which should appear first in the next-generation Ford Explorer
  • Front- and all-wheel drive unibody
  • Front-wheel drive commercial van unibody
  • Battery electric unibody

Ford hopes that reducing the platforms will not only save on product development and building costs, but also make engineering vehicles 20 to 40 percent more efficient. It also hopes that it will lessen the time it takes to bring a vehicle to the market by 20 percent.

Moving forward, the company wants to use the money it saves by focusing on commercial vans, trucks, SUVs and crossovers in the coming years.

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