Ford’s global product strategy has been focused on three main products—the next Focus; the Fiesta, which debuts in the U.S. next year having already made splashes in Europe and Asia; and the next generation Fusion that will be the same design as the next European Mondeo. [Can Ford’s “World Car” Bet Pay Off?]
But Ford is actually taking this global product design strategy further. According to my recent interview with Ford’s top global marketing executive James Farley, the global design scheme will extend to crossover vehicles as well. Yup. Same crossovers and multi-activity-vehicles in Dearborn Michigan as in Milan, Dubai and Shanghai.
Farley, in our chat, talked about the Honda Fit, a car he clearly admires. No wonder, then, that I saw a European Volkswagen Golf Plus parked outside his office. The Golf Plus, like the Fit and Ford C-Max (pictured above) in Europe represent a product niche that Farley and Ford is ripe to take off in the U.S.—the small, thrifty car with high fuel economy and great practicality.
Other than the pickups and big SUVs, there is little reason, says Farley, why crossovers built off the engineering platforms that support the Focus, Fusion and Fiesta can’t be the same the world over. There just isn’t that much difference any more between what Americans want in these product segments, and what Europeans and Asians want. Pickups and big SUVs…yes. But not cars and crossovers.
This is the way, Ford reckons, it will achieve true global scale and efficiency to take on Toyota and Honda in the future—not only for market share, but profitability.