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All American: The Ford F150 is designed for North America - and will stay that way.
‘One Ford’ design philosophy to apply globally, except for the US
27 April 2009
FORD says its newly enacted One Ford approach to global model designs will apply to all future models – but not the Blue Oval’s pick-up and SUV models sold in North America.
“We’ve developed a strategy that One Ford is for products which are sold all around the world,” said Ford of Europe executive design director Martin Smith at last week’s Shanghai motor show.
“(But) There’s only one continent, apart from South America, that does products only for its continent and that is North America. There are many products that are only sold in North America.
“In Australia, you have a situation where the Falcon has to sit with a lot of products coming from Europe, but in North America there is currently no product coming in from Europe.
“Starting with the Fiesta, that’s a specific small-car market and the customers in North America are targeted in the same way as they are in the rest of the world: younger designer-wear people that want a really stylish small car. That’s never really existed in North America before, that requirement.
Left: Ford Falcon G6.
“(But) What we’ve said is that for the products in North America which are only sold in North America in a North American environment are very specific.
“For example, an F150 truck wouldn’t sell anywhere else in the world, a Mustang sells in isolated numbers around the world and the Explorer, for example … cars like this are designed for a specific type of customer only in America.
“These are what we call the icons of the North American market and they are developed as a brand in themselves, if you like.
“The Mustang isn’t even badged Ford so it can have an entire life of its own. With the Explorer no one ever says they own a Ford, they say they’ve got an Explorer, or an F150.
“The requirements of those customers are so specific, so North American-centric, that we’ve actually identified the products for which our design will remain in North America as being their brand and that the customer of that brand defines very much how those vehicles are.
“All around the rest of the world there’s a mix of vehicles mostly coming from Europe which subscribe to the One Ford design DNA.”
Mr Smith said that while the downsizing trend was also evident in the US, full-size pick-up trucks and SUVs would always attract strong demand.
“It’s been declared that several plants have been redesigned to take small cars and that’s certainly one of the emerging trends in the US, but F150 trucks are not going to go away. They might become more fuel-efficient.
“The F150 brand is migrating more towards a business tool rather than a recreational vehicle and the Explorer and larger SUVs, which again is something very American-centric, and the requirement is definitely there in the market.
“I’m sure they will get more aerodynamic and more efficient, but that format of vehicle – the size – is something which the North American customer is demanding and I couldn’t advocate that we stop doing that and make some more cars because that’s not what the market’s asking us to do,” he said.