SEARCH BLOG: MULALLY
Ford Motor Company continues to struggle in the U.S., although operations elsewhere are doing much better. Your efforts to improve the efficiency at Ford seems to be making headway and, more importantly, if the historical culture of protecting one's turf is being eliminated, then you may expect more lasting positive results.
Most employees want to be part of a winning "team," but in the past the "team players" got T-shirts and recognition plaques... and possibly increases equivalent to the cost of living. The real winners were those who could optimize their positions... the manipulators... even at the cost of those around them.But it is going to take more than just "team work." It is going to take dedication to having the most competitive and desirable products. For example, you were responsible for renaming the Five Hundred as the Taurus. That's a nice effort at leveraging a great name. But the new Taurus is closer in pedigree to the Crown Victoria than the old Taurus. So, while it may bring some people back to the showrooms [always a good thing], they may take some convincing that they are really looking at a Taurus-type car. Perhaps your "teams" are going to fix that in the next iteration.
One area that Ford historically has been behind competition is its car drivetrains. It's not that Ford can't produce a great engine or transmission, but it choses to offer fairly bland, and surprisingly lower fuel-efficient, powertrains than competitors. The new V-6 engine is an improvement that is long overdue. But don't stop there. Rather than "spinning wheels" on a lot of low-probability technologies such as hydrogen or ethanol that require substantial infrastructure changes, Ford should rapidly expand technologies that have a proven track record in Europe... specifically diesel and turbo-diesel engines.
Two years ago, Mercedes offered a diesel in their sedans for only $1,000 more than their gasoline engines. BMW is moving heavily into turbo-diesels. Audi has a strong diesel offering.Obviously, these offerings are at the higher end, but there is nothing that says they have to be... as I'm sure you know since Ford offers a turbo-diesel Focus in Europe.
Will people pay for the diesel engine premium? Let's say that I will be standing in line for that Taurus with a turbo-diesel engine... and it doesn't even have to be the hybrid model.