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Ford: Three-year model cycles, more global products, 43 Ecoboost models

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OTIVE NEWS

Ford Motor Co.’s product development mantra will be fresher, faster, simpler, Derrick Kuzak, Ford’s group vice president of global product development, said Wednesday at the Automotive News World Congress.

Ford will update its vehicles with major face-lifts, technical improvements and other changes in three-year cycles, Kuzak said. The changes will be ones that customers notice, he said. They will be aimed at keeping vehicles fresh and drawing consumers into Ford and Lincoln Mercury showrooms.

By 2009, the average age of Ford, Lincoln and Mercury vehicles will be reduced 35 percent, bringing the average age of the automaker’s vehicles in line with the best in the industry.

Many of the updates will be design-driven, Kuzak said. “One way to differentiate yourself and bring people into the showroom is with great design,” he said. “You don’t design for the masses; each vehicle has a target audience.”

Kuzak also said Ford is working to reduce the number of its global platforms and engine architectures. In a presentation to auto analysts last week at the Detroit auto show, Kuzak said that by 2012, about 70 percent of Ford’s global volume will be built on eight platforms.

Ford is also driving the cost out of its product development system, Kuzak said. The company is relying on more powerful computers to design and test virtual vehicles and components, which reduces the need for expensive prototypes.

On other topics, Kuzak said:

-- The Ford Verve small car has been generating enormous buzz at the Detroit auto show and will change perceptions about small cars when it arrives in 2010. But there’s no chance that the car could be brought to North America sooner.

-- Ford’s EcoBoost performance and fuel economy engine system will be used on 43 nameplates in North America by 2012 and account for 500,000 units of volume. Worldwide, EcoBoost could be on as many as 750,000 units per year by 2012.

When used with an electronically shifted manual gearbox, EcoBoost could improve fuel economy by 20 percent and pay for itself in 30 months.

-- Ford will continue rolling out the Sync infotainment system on Ford vehicles and updating the software. Coming improvements include a 911 emergency calling feature and real-time traffic information. Kuzak said Sync’s goal is to make using electronic devices such as cell phones and music players “seamless between the home and the car.”

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Three Year model cycles!? Hopefully that means more jobs for hard working Americans!

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Kinda seems like the old days when cars were refreshed almost yearly. If they can keep costs down and design good, it's a good way to keep products fresh. I do hope teh Verve looks idenitcal to the concept when it arrives in 2010, if so it'll be well worth the wait.

So it finally seems like Ford is getting it's act together, along with Chrysler. So there's hope yet. :thumbsup:

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Three year product cycles? I'll believe when I see it. And I'm not talking about refreshes every three years just like every other manufacturer out there.

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Three year product cycles? I'll believe when I see it. And I'm not talking about refreshes every three years just like every other manufacturer out there.

Maybe 3 year heavy refreshes? There's really no need for a top-to-bottom redesign every 3 years...

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They can't do it, the cost associated with such a drastic plan in very high. Then the lower the age by 35 percent they are DREAMING.

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With constantly changing products, isn't the potential for a quality crash?

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Well they did it with the Focus. LOL

First came out in 2001? Got a makeover in 2005 now the 2008 POS. It does not have to be a change in platform every three years.

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The platform will not change.............. it will just be updated. This is exactly what the Japanese do. If you make enough small changes/upgrades to the platform, you can call it all new.

If I remember correctly, Toyota/Honda use some of their basic platforms for 10 years or more. Thus, reliability remains high, as the basics barely change.

BTW, everyone on these GM forums keep saying that people should not judge GM by what they did in the past. So, this begs the question............. why do so many here insist on judging what Ford is doing/saying, today, to what they did in the past??? What??.............. GM can change............ and Ford is unable (remembering that some Ford models are now ranked higher in reliability/durability, than their comparable Toyota models).

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The platform will not change.............. it will just be updated. This is exactly what the Japanese do. If you make enough small changes/upgrades to the platform, you can call it all new.

If I remember correctly, Toyota/Honda use some of their basic platforms for 10 years or more. Thus, reliability remains high, as the basics barely change.

BTW, everyone on these GM forums keep saying that people should not judge GM by what they did in the past. So, this begs the question............. why do so many here insist on judging what Ford is doing/saying, today, to what they did in the past??? What??.............. GM can change............ and Ford is unable (remembering that some Ford models are now ranked higher in reliability/durability, than their comparable Toyota models).

This happens with Chrysler too.

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The platform will not change.............. it will just be updated. This is exactly what the Japanese do. If you make enough small changes/upgrades to the platform, you can call it all new.

If I remember correctly, Toyota/Honda use some of their basic platforms for 10 years or more. Thus, reliability remains high, as the basics barely change.

BTW, everyone on these GM forums keep saying that people should not judge GM by what they did in the past. So, this begs the question............. why do so many here insist on judging what Ford is doing/saying, today, to what they did in the past??? What??.............. GM can change............ and Ford is unable (remembering that some Ford models are now ranked higher in reliability/durability, than their comparable Toyota models).

Toyota's platform life cycle is 8 years, if I'm right. For instance the newest model is on a redesigned platform, whereas from 97-06, it was the same platform with a minor refresh then major refresh then another minor refresh and finally a full platform redesign.

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Toyota's platform life cycle is 8 years, if I'm right. For instance the newest model is on a redesigned platform, whereas from 97-06, it was the same platform with a minor refresh then major refresh then another minor refresh and finally a full platform redesign.

Toyota's platform never changes. It is only upgraded.

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Toyota's platform never changes. It is only upgraded.

Yes, apparently just like Microsoft Windows.

Can we then consider the new Camry to be equivalent to Vista? Given the recent spate of quality issues, my mom is perfectly content to drive her "XP" 2002 Camry until it dies.

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Yes, apparently just like Microsoft Windows.

Can we then consider the new Camry to be equivalent to Vista? Given the recent spate of quality issues, my mom is perfectly content to drive her "XP" 2002 Camry until it dies.

Camry rides on a platform from 1992. Corolla on a platform from 1993.

Toyota does not redesign platforms unless they absolutely have to.

Honda is the model to follow (and Ford said that IS the model they will follow): Honda uses platfrom for 2 model cycles with re-engineering of the platform in the middle.

What honda does is as follows:

1: New car (top and bottom)

2

3

4: refresh

5

6

7: new top hat - platform refreshed

8

9

10: refresh

11

12

13: all new car - top and bottom

Ford is going on the same cycle.

Igor

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