Ford Motor Plans to Bring 100 New Vehicles to Market in 5 Years

As Ford Motor Company prepares to celebrate its 100th anniversary, the company is back to basics with its revitalization plan, said Edsel B. Ford II, addressing the Automotive Press Association last week at the Detroit Athletic Club.

“We believe that Fords revitalization and our history are part of the same story,” said Ford, company board member and great-grandson of the founder. “For we are getting back to basics, designing, engineering, building vehicles that stir passion in the hearts and souls of our customers.”

“We are reapplying the vision and values that founded Ford and have sustained us for an entire century,” Ford continued. “This is truly a pivotal year for Ford, a milestone where we pause, if only for a moment, to look back at where weve been and reaffirm that were on the right road to the future.”

The Ford Centennial celebration, being held around Ford World Headquarters in Dearborn, Mich., from June 12-16, is significant for countless people around the globe because Henry Ford not only founded a company, but he also changed the world, Edsel Ford said. Ford literally put the world on wheels with its Model T, an affordable car that gave people personal mobility. And, another innovation was the five-dollar-day, eight hour a day work week, which raised the standard of living for working people–at a time when the average industrial worker took a full week of nine-plus hour days to earn as much.

The automakers centennial celebration has been marred by the economic slowdown, which has impacted the traditional Big Three car companies, but more so on Ford and the Chrysler Group of DaimlerChrysler AG. Ford produces seven of the top 20 vehicles, including the No. 1 pickup truck, the F-Series, and the No. 1 sport utility vehicle, the Explorer, but the Japanese big three–Toyota, Nissan, and Honda –have successfully dominated the car market and are now launching full size pickup trucks and sport utility vehicles in the market segments that Detroit still holds majority control.

While General Motors has tremendously improved its productivity during the past five years, its market share has slipped below 30 percent and even with high incentives on its cars; it has only slightly improved its share. Ford and Chrysler have been forced to follow GMs incentive war, with Chrysler going from an anticipated $$400,000 profit for the second quarter of 2003 to projecting a staggering $1.2 billion loss.

Some automotive analysts have projected that GM, Ford and the Chrysler Group are skirting the edge of bankruptcy due, in part, to their pension obligations to older workers, a problem that their foreign competitors are not burdened as much with, and due to the high vehicle incentives that are draining their profits.

Edsel Ford demurred when asked to comment on the financial status of the Chrysler Group, saying that such questions would be better directed to his cousin, company chairman and CEO Bill Ford Jr. However, when asked if the automaker is looking at a future where it will be a significantly smaller company, he replied, “Thats not something weve talked about.”