All eyes on Ford’s leadership

How good are Alan Mulally, Jim Farley and Mark Fields? They pretty much brought Ford Motor back from abyss to one of the most respected brands on the road. Can they do the same for Lincoln?

Now that Mercury will be hitting the graveyard later this year, all eyes will be on Ford’s leadership to reviving a storied but recently lost brand in Lincoln. It’s going to get tougher to charge premiums for near luxury vehicles in this market with Ford, Chevy and Nissan delivering what most would have only expected from expensive brands just a few short years ago. Sometimes you have to take a few steps back before you can move forward and Ford/Lincoln will start writing a new chapter in their history after Mercury becomes a part of it!

From AutoNews.com:

DETROIT — Ford Motor Co. must do with Lincoln what it has done with the Ford brand — infuse it with new energy and sparkling product — if it is to offset the loss of Mercury sales when that 71-year-old brand dies.

Though Lincoln has a freshened lineup and stronger styling than in the past, it is still an also-ran among luxury brands in the United States. Ford clearly will need more volume from Lincoln to appease Mercury dealers — especially those who currently have Lincoln-Mercury stores.

“We have to make a very compelling case to our dealers very quickly,” says Mark Fields, Ford’s president of the Americas, in an interview.

Read the full article here.

  

Back to the future

1964-ford-galaxie-500-xl

For years, the Big Three automakers fought efforts in Congress to increase mileage standards. Now we’re all paying the price.

Given the gas price shock last summer and the current economic crisis, Ford is rediscovering some old techniques to help them improve gas mileage in its vehicles.

As fuel-economy standards get tougher, auto companies are peering into a future where next-generation electric vehicles and advanced hybrids beckon. But these days, Ford Motor executives have one eye on the future and one on the past. Ford is dusting off a host of old ideas for boosting gas mileage and slashing emissions. Some of these concepts were dreamed up decades ago, deployed in lots of small European cars, and vigorously promoted by environmentalists. But in Detroit, the technology has mostly sat on the shelf.

Not anymore. Ford now emphasizes fuel economy across its whole lineup. And for its 2011 Explorer the company is making prominent use of such “retro” green technology as lighter-weight steel body parts and “direct injection” engine technology. This technique, which dates to the 1940s, feeds gas and air straight into the engine cylinder instead of premixing it, resulting in a more efficient fuel burn. Together, the technologies could allow the new Explorer to reach highway fuel economy of 30 miles per gallon, upstaging Toyota’s Highlander hybrid, which gets 25 mpg. “There is a lot we can do to get meaningful fuel-economy improvements without going all the way into electrics,” says Ford’s global product development chief, Derrick Kuzak.

It’s about time.

  

Related Posts