FORD USES SINGLE-PLATFORM COMMONALITY TO MAXIMISE GLOBAL APPEAL OF ALL-NEW FORD RANGER

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  • The all-new Ford Ranger is the first truck created through the One Ford global product development strategy
  • A single global platform replaces two regional Ranger compact pickup truck platforms currently in production, helping Ford to leverage its product development assets more effectively. Ranger models around the globe will have very high levels of commonality
  • The new platform – developed by a global team headquartered in Australia – takes advantage of global Ford assets, particularly robust engines proven in tough commercial-vehicle usage and fuel-efficient six-speed transmissions
  • Ford is transforming its Ranger production footprint globally. Volume production will begin progressively in Thailand in 2011 followed by newly revamped manufacturing facilities in South Africa and eventually in Argentina in the future
  • Ford’s new global pickup will be manufactured on three continents and sold in 180 markets, making it one of the farthest-reaching Ford products in the world

SYDNEY, October 15, 2010 – Ford is aiming to win over a new group of global pickup customers with the all-new Ford Ranger, the first truck built under the One Ford global product strategy.

It’s the latest example of Ford’s push to develop and produce vehicles that meet the evolving needs of the global marketplace while gaining huge efficiencies in its product development and manufacturing operations around the world.

By leveraging global economies of scale, the new Ranger will be produced from a highly robust single platform that replaces the two platforms currently in production regionally.

Ford took advantage of its full-line design and product development resources based in Australia to lead the global effort to create the next-generation Ranger. The highly skilled Ranger development team was based at Ford’s state-of-the-art product development and proving ground facilities in Melbourne and Geelong. In fact, the Ranger development project has been the largest automotive design and engineering export project ever undertaken in Australia and has been supported by both the Australian Commonwealth and Victorian State governments.

The leading role played by Ford Australia illustrates how engineering and product development is evolving as part of the One Ford strategy. Ford’s diverse engineering centres around the world are now being utilised to produce global products.

“The all-new Ranger is a product of the One Ford global product development system from inception to launch,” said Derrick Kuzak, group vice president, Product Development, Ford Motor Company. “Our engineering team in Australia had full access to our global capabilities, testing facilities and, most importantly, pickup truck knowledge in the entire Ford organisation.”

The new pickup will be one of the most extensively marketed vehicles in Ford’s product lineup, with the four-door Double Cab destined for more than 180 markets worldwide. Other models will be offered in regular and extended cab versions. The new global pickup range includes a host of new technologies and more capability than ever.

Three plants to serve global markets
The Ranger for all world markets will be built in integrated assembly plants selected for their strategic importance in serving established and growing markets where compact trucks are popular.

The future regional production locations are located in Asia Pacific (Thailand), Africa (South Africa) and eventually in South America (Argentina).
“The Ranger manufacturing strategy was developed from a truly global perspective,” said John Fleming, executive vice president, Manufacturing and Labour Affairs, Ford Motor Company. “That required strategic decisions in terms of the optimal plant locations, their supply base and distribution reach. Making those choices from a clean-sheet, One Ford-inspired approach positions us well to grow the success of the all-new Ford Ranger globally and make the most of growth market opportunities.”

The strategy particularly reflects growth opportunities spurred by demand in Asia, Africa, South America and many export markets – which include regional hotbeds of compact pickup truck popularity.

As part of the One Ford plan launched in 2006, the company has invested nearly USD 3 billion to transform its manufacturing facilities across the Asia Pacific and Africa region from low-volume local production to high-volume regional production. Ford is pursuing an aggressive growth strategy, especially in growing markets like India and China, and employs more than 25,000 people across the region.

“We are in a position to expand production in a way that wasn’t possible in the past,” said Ford Asia Pacific and Africa President Joe Hinrichs. “We’re aligning our entire business model for profitable growth driven by this new generation of One Ford global products.”

Production of the new Ranger will grow progressively over a global launch cadence. Volume assembly of the all-new pickup is slated to begin in 2011 at the AutoAlliance Thailand (AAT) plant in Rayong, where Ford and Mazda recently announced a USD 350-million investment to upgrade the facility. This facility will produce vehicles for Thailand and markets in the Asia Pacific region.

Ford is investing USD 412 million to increase capacity at its South African operations to build the Ranger and the Puma diesel engine, along with additional investments to boost the capacity and expertise of Tier 1 suppliers. Other major investments to grow Ford’s volume production capacity across the broad Asia Pacific and Africa region have included groundbreaking for new manufacturing plants in China and Thailand, plus a doubling of capacity at its Chennai, India, plant.

South Africa will produce Ranger for the home market and Europe, including Russia and Turkey, as well as emerging markets in Africa and beyond.

Later in the launch cadence, Argentina eventually will begin producing the all-new Ranger for South America, another key region for compact pickups.

Ford manufacturing plants will build the new generation pickup using shared processes, tools and technologies. The new platform was jointly developed by Ford and Mazda. Mazda provided platform chassis architecture and Ford led design and vehicle engineering for both brands.

The evolution and implementation of the One Ford strategy is yielding major advancements in quality and allows Ford to take greater advantage of economies of scale.

“It’s very important to recognise that joining up the key regional sources of compact truck demand gave us the business case for a truly global all-new Ranger,” said Hinrichs. “An individual region’s market volume alone would not have justified the investment required to create such a comprehensively new truck. But with a global perspective and bringing Ford’s global resources to bear, every region gets a new world-class truck. This is the power of One Ford.”

At each plant, Ford is strategically partnering with local suppliers to maximise production capacity. Building a single-model Ranger for global markets requires high levels of commonality and efficient leveraging of Ford’s global reach to obtain high-quality parts at competitive prices.

The exterior of the all-new Ranger will be made from the same sheet metal design regardless of its manufacturing location.

To help these manufacturing facilities evolve into high-volume global assembly plants, Ford has fostered a unique relationship with local suppliers. In South Africa for example, a local supplier will provide the metal stampings for the entire body of the vehicle – a first in Ford manufacturing.

The result is a win-win situation for both parties, according to Hinrichs.

“Ford saved millions in investment and tooling costs. Suppliers, meanwhile, are able to run their plants at maximum capacity with little or no down time with the additional stamping opportunities,” he said.

Commonality across 180 markets
The new Ranger represents a major step in Ford’s plan to build vehicles that will appeal to international consumers who, despite their diversity, have a lot in common when it comes to their needs. That’s important for a product that reaches around the globe.

The all-new Ford Ranger will be sold in more than 180 global markets. It will not be offered for sale in the United States or Canada, where demand for full-size pickup trucks dominates and the Ford F-150 is a perennial market leader.

“The Ford Ranger must have the broadest market reach of any Ford vehicle,” explained Kuzak, a veteran of two Ranger development programmes. “Truck customers are very similar, and that’s reflected in the number of markets that the Ranger serves.”

Perhaps the biggest thing global pickup drivers have in common is that reliability is of paramount importance.

“We recognise that truck customers are the salt of the earth. Whether it’s construction, agriculture, service or repair, they drive our economies and the truck for them is the tool of their livelihood,” said Kuzak. “It has to be capable and reliable like no other product we have, because if the truck has downtime, our customers can’t do their jobs.”

Most pickup truck customers around the world are looking for a dual-use vehicle. They use the Ranger to get the job done during the day and at night and on weekends it is their family car. Therefore, Ford’s global team has designed and engineered the new Ranger to satisfy everyone from fleet buyers looking for a basic pickup truck to young families looking for a sporty vehicle.

This approach ensured that the new pickup would have a high degree of commonality across all regions, in keeping with the One Ford global product approach – the strategy championed by Ford Motor Company President and CEO Alan Mulally that stresses investing in a single platform to meet worldwide expectations for reliable, tough, appealing and fun-to-drive vehicles.

The strategy also enables Ford to introduce an array of new features and technologies thanks to the savings commonality drives.

“The Ford team is bringing customers around the world a family of products with exciting designs, packed with an unprecedented level of features and technologies,” said Kuzak.

Global engineering standards
The new way of working within Ford – driven by the company’s One Ford strategy – is breaking down regional barriers that had previously resulted in different engineering standards that often caused unnecessary re-engineering of products and components when introducing vehicles in different markets.

“The adaptation of certain features and technology has become easier due to the advantages of global purchasing power that One Ford offers,” said Gary Boes, vehicle line director for Ford’s new compact truck platform. “The way we build and offer fleet trucks and the various series in the lineup will be the same across the world.”