By Amy Wilson, Automotive News
The new Ford Fiesta will be the first car designed and engineered under Ford Motor Co.'s new global vehicle development programme. Derrick Kuzak, Ford's global product development chief, says the aim is to develop a small car (which Ford calls a B-car) that is recognisable as a Ford around the world.
Kuzak spoke to Staff Reporter Amy Wilson about the program.
On what vehicles will Ford's European and North American units collaborate?
(The B-car) is a vehicle that our European group is designing for all global markets. The vehicles obviously may be tuned differently. There may be design elements that are different. The front of the vehicle - the windshield, the A-pillar - will be common. And basically the initial roofline will be common.
So we need to have a design theme that's going to work for all of the models. You have the ability to have a four-door sedan (as planned for North America). There will be a five-door version for the European market. And there are other potential models that other regions are thinking about.
Will the small-car global engineering team be a template for future model programmes?
It's a template we'll replicate, yes.
This new way of developing cars is a global effort, but a majority of the cooperation seems to be between North America and Europe.
No, I think it's global. Those are two big engineering centres, obviously, for the Ford brand. That's why you would have the perception that a lot of the work is there. But we have an outstanding engineering team in South America. We have a great team in Mexico and, in fact, we're increasing its size. We have an engineering team in Australia. They are working on pickup trucks.
So those teams are all part of this global engineering effort.
I'm told the new Mondeo won't come to the United States. But will its successor be developed by one global team and sold in the US and Europe?
I said we'd replicate what we are doing on the B-car. Right now, in the Mondeo segment, Europe just launched an absolutely outstanding vehicle that I love since I was part of the team.
But I also love the Fusion. So we have great products that we've just launched in both regions. Now the right thing for us to do from a business perspective is to build a customer base and sweat the assets already put in place for both of those products.
Where is Ford compared with the industry on leveraging global product architectures?
We've demonstrated some outstanding competencies at platforms and shared technologies that give outstanding vehicles that are cross-brand and cross-market. Now we're doing that at a full-vehicle level. We've brought the Americas into that. That is a unique opportunity among some competitors (with) brands that allow them to do that globally. The Ford brand allows us to do that. It's a brand that has strength and respect globally, and we're treating it as such now.
From Automotive News (A Crain publication)