Ford needs to further reduce the number of nameplates it offers, says CEO

Article by Christian Andrei, on October 3, 2010

Ford Motor Co. CEO Alan Mulally said he wasn't signaling the demise or sale of any more brands when he told a group of analysts this week that Ford needs to further reduce the number of nameplates it offers.Mulally said he merely intends to keep Ford on a path to creating product “families” that streamline product development. Analysts were told by Mulally that he hopes to bring down the number of Ford’s nameplates to 25 or 30.

Currently, Ford has 36 nameplates for three brands: Ford, Lincoln and Mercury, which will be discontinued by Dec. 31. This means that four more nameplates will be eliminated: Milan, Grand Marquis, Mountaineer and Mariner.

Of course the question that many wanted to ask is where exactly Ford would be reducing nameplates. At a press event last Wednesday, Mulally responded that his previous comments were in line with Ford’s “biggest decision” to focus on the Ford brand, resulting to the divesting of other brands. To date, the brands that Ford has sold include Jaguar, Land Rover and Aston-Martin.

Lincoln is still owned by Ford but even its executives acknowledge that the brand requires an overhaul of product and branding. Ford seeks to significantly cut the number of its Lincoln dealerships in major metro markets.

Dealers are advised that that if they want to go forward with the brand, they will be required to invest in facility upgrades and better service. Mulally asserted that he remains committed to the improvement of Lincoln and to Ford’s goal to streamline Ford division product development and offerings. Mulally said that four years ago, Ford had 97 distinct nameplates from all the different vehicles across all the various brands.

He added that Ford made a second decision to have a “full family of vehicles – small, medium and large cars, crossovers and trucks.” As an example, Mulally pointed to models such as the new Fiesta subcompact, Focus compact and F-series pickup as vehicles that come in a “family” because of their various design and engine variants. [via autonews - sub. required]

Topics: ford, lineup

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