2012 Ford Focus reshaping firm’s relationship with suppliers

Article by Christian Andrei, on March 4, 2011

As Ford Motor Co. focuses on global platforms and shared parts, its relationships with suppliers will change, allowing more coordination from design to production.

Tony Brown, head of global Ford global purchasing, said, "This whole thing is about economies of scale." The launch of the Ford Focus compact car on a shared platform throughout the globe means that the car can be made in Europe, Asia and North America using 80% common parts and 75% of the same supply base.

Brown told Reuters that the volume of the compact car platform means that the carmaker and its suppliers will have to work more closely.

The new Focus, which was developed in Europe, is made up of parts that were sourced from 310 suppliers in 22 countries. Ford revealed that suppliers have created 5,500 jobs around the world for the Focus, which arrives in showrooms in Europe and North America in the coming weeks.

Ford CEO Alan Mulally has been saying that the Focus is the best evidence yet of the company's One Ford strategy of radical and sweeping simplification of design, engineering and production systems.

Ford is working to position itself for more market share in growing markets such as China and India where smaller cars dominate. Ford anticipates that by 2013, the Focus-sized platform will account for 2.2 million units of its annual sales globally.

Brown said that component cost and the retail price will be lower due to the efficiencies gained by the volume of the shared platform and the closer relationship with suppliers from the design of parts to production of the Focus.

The latest generation of the new Ford Focus is underpinned by Ford Motor Co.’s new global C-segment platform that will also underpin at least 10 models around the world. It is expected that Ford’s global C-segment platform would account for around two million units of annual production by 2012. This global platform allows the Europe-developed Ford Focus to boast of 80 percent parts commonality even though it is being sold in more than 120 markets around the world.

Derrick Kuzak, Ford's group vice president of Product Development, remarked that the carmaker’s presentation of the three core body styles for the Ford Focus in Paris marks a key milestone in Ford’s global C-car strategy. He disclosed that in the coming months, Ford will commence production of the Focus simultaneously at its Saarlouis and Michigan assembly sites as the carmaker starts its journey to deliver at least 10 new vehicles underpinned by global C-platform.

Kuzak also confirmed that Ford has decided not to expand the three-model Focus range with a three-door or coupé-cabriolet derivatives since the five-door Focus hatchback also features a coupé-like design. He noted that the three-model Focus range provides a great fusion of athletic looks and everyday practicality. He added that customers seeking the same dynamic appearance but wanting additional space could avail of the new C-MAX, which is also underpinned by Ford’s global C platform.

Ford’s promise to introduce a performance version of the new generation Focus will be soon realized in 2012. For now, Ford is unveiling at Paris the new Ford Focus ST model powered by a Ford EcoBoost engine that provides up to 250 PS. Prior to the Focus’ planned production in Saarlouis, Germany and Michigan, Ford’s lead assembly sites are currently getting ready for a simultaneous manufacturing launch by the end of 2010.

Ford’s Saarlouis facility will build all three Ford Focus body styles, while the Michigan site will prepare for the four-door and five-door versions. Production of new Ford Focus in Europe will be expanded in mid-2011, when Ford’s St. Petersburg site in Russia commences assembly of the four-door and five-door models.

Then, Focus production will be expanded in the Asia Pacific in 2012, when the carmaker’s Chongqing site in China becomes online. Ford will continue production of the current Focus at its Valencia facility in Spain mid-2011 to ensure that thirst for the vehicle in Europe remains satiated.

Topics: ford, ford focus

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