BLUE OVAL OPTIMISM
This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!
Published on Sat, Aug 29, 2009
By: The LACar Editorial Staff
2010 Lincoln MKZ and MKT
BLUE OVAL OPTIMISM
Ford's Plan Seems to be Working
By Harold Osmer
Ford's Plan Seems to be Working By Harold Osmer
Ford Motor Company stands tall amid the news of government bailouts and takeovers of American automakers. When faced with tough economic realities, Form managed to restructure its corporate debt through private means. Though now highly leveraged, Ford is poised to rebuild, recover, and reemerge as the industry leader it once was. Second quarter (2009) earning reports indicate a net profit of 69 cents per share versus a loss of $3.89 over the same period last year. U.S. market share has improved for eight of the past nine months. Ford is optimistic and expects cash flow to continue improving as the year moves on. How is Ford able to do perform so well in the face of a nationwide economic downturn? In a few words, it's done through freshening of the product line, implementation of technological advances, and addressing the environmental trends of the marketplace.
2010 Ford Taurus SHO PRODUCTS The multitude of vehicles available at your local Ford dealer has become a problem and is being specifically addressed by the Ford development team under the banner of "Showroom Nameplate Simplification." In 2006, Ford offered 97 variations on their lineup. By 2008, the number had been reduced to 59. Look for a further narrowing by 2010. Engine architectures will drop from 28 options in 2008 to just 20 in 2013, serving to streamline factory operations even further. There is strength in efficiency. Production strategy calls for a fully freshened lineup in 2010. This translates to Ford having either all-new or significantly redesigned models since initiating this plan in 2005. Ford's diverse lineup includes everything from F-150 pickups through Lincoln crossovers, an all-new Taurus, Mustang, Fusion, Flex, and European-inspired Fiesta. Ford expects to have less than 20 percent of their fleet running on hybrid power.
2010 Lincoln MKS TECHNOLOGY Ford's new EcoBoost engine comes online this summer. The 3.5-liter V-6 combines direct fuel injection with twin turbochargers to create a V-6 capable of V-8 power while maintaining V-6 fuel economy. Turbo lag is a thing of the past as power comes on smooth across the entire band. Recycling of exhaust gasses reduces CO2 emissions while increasing fuel efficiency. EcoBoost technology was not possible for large-scale introduction just a few years ago. Ford's R&D efforts brought about significant design changes regarding fuel delivery and more precise turbocharger operation resulting in a package that produces 355 hp and 35 ft.-lb. of torque while still earning EPA-estimated 17/25 mpg numbers when installed in the Lincoln MKS sedan. Along with the MKS, an EcoBoost engine option will first be available in the all-new Lincoln MKT crossover, all-new Taurus SHO, and the popular Ford Flex. An I-4 EcoBoost engine will be available for the 2011 model year. By 2013, 90 percent of Ford's showroom lineup will have an EcoBoost engine option. Advances with engine, transmission and driveline components will further increase 2010 fleet wide fuel economy roughly 20 percent over 2005 levels. Ford's SYNC software application combines voice-recognition, Bluetooth mobile phone connectivity, and GPS technology to provide traffic, directions, and other information without the need for a built-in navigation system. Adaptive Cruise Control, MyKey, Active Park Assist, and Blind Spot Information System are further evidence of Ford's continuing embracement of electronic technology to make its vehicles more user-friendly and safe.
2010 Ford Taurus SHO QUALITY New vehicle lineup designs at Ford have resulted in increased attention to manufacturing details. An independent auditor, RDA Group, has recently found that Ford shares "best in the industry" top billing with Toyota in overall customer satisfaction, ahead of industry stalwart Honda. J.D. Power APEAL surveys show a significant increase with customer satisfaction in design, content, and vehicle performance across the Ford, Lincoln, and Mercury brands. Studies indicate a positive trend in consumer opinions about both Ford Motor Company and Ford products. The popular Flex has helped push interest in opinions up 17 percent over previous years. Indeed, 49 percent of Flex and 54 percent of Fusion Hybrid buyers did not previously own a Ford vehicle.
SUMMARY Ford won some fans when they refused to take government bailout funds. True, they had already restructured their finances by the time bailout funds were available - even to the point of leveraging their blue oval logo. But when the rubber hits the road, Americans still appreciate a company that holds its own. That said, Ford needs to deliver cars that people want to drive. Through comprehensive planning, Ford has continued R&D to successfully address a balance between increased fuel economy and engine power with their EcoBoost technology. EcoBoost is not the turbo-lagged system of old. Coupled to more efficient 6-speed transmissions with lighter, stronger cars that people want to buy, Ford has a winning lineup on the immediate horizon. Quality is key to an automaker's reputation. Ford produces cars for the masses in myriad categories and is building them at industry-leading levels of quality. A fully freshened lineup, new models, and an eye toward the future should have Ford back to full economic strength in short order. For more information about Ford Motor Company products, go to www.ford.comÂ