Ford Motor Company has received plenty of headlines lately as the manufacturer tries to negotiate the difficult terrain of today's evolving automotive industry. Early this year, Ford announced plans to shelve the majority of non-truck, non-crossover, and non-Mustang models in North America, and now, Ford has announced it will further cut its number of automotive platforms from nine to only five.
The new plan is in line with the international manufacturing approach taken by competitors like Volkswagen and Toyota, allowing for streamlining in almost every phase of the process that brings a car from concept, through development, and to the market. Ford's next step is also a continuation of the massive Ford One plan that was set in place by former CEO Alan Mulally, which along with plenty of government help, managed to dig Ford out of the hole created by the Great Recession.
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The Ford One plan slashed the automaker's global lineup of platforms from 30 to nine, but the proposed changes allow Ford to hope for a reduction of up to $25.5 billion in costs, over just the next five years. Ford's head of product development and purchasing, Hau Thai-Tang, delineated the plan during a presentation on Wednesday at the 2018 J.P. Morgan Auto Conference.
The five platforms will include: unibody battery-electric, unibody commercial van, rear-wheel-drive/all-wheel-drive body-on-frame, front-wheel-drive/all-wheel-drive unibody, and rear-wheel-drive/all-wheel-drive unibody. The narrowing of platforms will allow for maximum efficiency through Ford's processes, but what will it mean for specific models?
Already, fans of the 1990s Ford Bronco are faced with the likelihood that the recently announced reboot may including a 'Baby Bronco' for the crossover market, sharing a platform with the Focus Active, in a FWD/AWD layout. Meanwhile, Ford's legacy project, the currently-stellar Mustang, could very well end up sharing a modular RWD/AWD unibody platform with other, larger crossovers like the forthcoming Explorer and the Lincoln Aviator.
Just where Ford's peak-performance GT fits into the new scheme remains to be seen. Will the next generation fit into the category of unibody battery-electric by including a hybrid drivetrain a la the Acura NSX and Ferrari LaFerrari? Or will (unlikely as it may seem) share its platform with the Mustang, as well as the Explorer?