Ford’s Direction: One Observer’s Take

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Ford GT - FIA World Endurance Championship

Monday, I asked you to play the role of armchair quarterback for the Ford Motor Company and tell us what you’d do differently if you were running Ford. It seems only fair that if I ask you what you think, I provide you with my thoughts about where the company is heading. Here’s my take on the company, and where they’re heading over the next few years.

I have a strong business background, with a MBA concentrated in Leadership. I’ve often fancied myself running a large automotive company like Ford, and believe that I have a unique take on the company. But I’m also an enthusiast, so it’s difficult sometimes to separate the two. Sometimes the best move for the enthusiast isn’t the best move for the company.

2015-ford-f-150-04

Aluminum Trucks Were the Right Decision

This might seem like a no-brainer, but the move to aluminum for the F-150 (and soon Super Duty line) was the right one. It was an expensive move, but Ford did it in such a smart way that the cost of the final product didn’t vary much from the steel counterpart.

The steel F-150s were extremely heavy. They were much heavier than the offerings from General Motors or Ram Trucks. They needed to lose the most weight, and aluminum made that possible. Reducing 700 pounds is a big deal, and made one of the heaviest trucks one of the lightest.

But Ford was also able to maintain capability when switching to aluminum. That meant that the new truck could carry more and tow more. Those are both wins for the end consumer.

Finally, dumping that much money into aluminum will ultimately reduce the aluminum cost for the company moving forward. Expect to see more aluminum in more products as time progresses.

2016 Ford Focus RS

Ford Performance is What the Company Needs

Ford Performance is the consolidated efforts of many different branches of the Ford Motor Company. Under one roof, they can all focus on one goal. We’re already seeing some of the benefits. The Shelby GT350 and GT350R Mustangs will surely dominate on the race track. The Ford GT’s return to Le Mans is eagerly awaited by many. Heck, the Ford Focus RS even presses the right buttons.

There is some question about whether the EcoBoost V6 is the right move for the 2017 Raptor. For me, it’ll come down to the sound. As vain as that sounds I want the truck to sound as badass as it looks. Can that be done with a turbocharged V6? I don’t know. We’ll have to wait and see.

SYNC 3

SYNC 3 is a Step in the Right Direction

MyFord Touch wasn’t well received by reviewers when it debuted. The problem with reviewing an infotainment system is that we only get to spend a week with the vehicle. Once you get used to how it operates, it’s much easier day-to-day.

SYNC 3 replaces MyFord Touch with a variety of improvements. But the main one for me is speed. The speed in which is can convert your voice into a usable destination is faster than anything else I’ve experienced so far. That’ll help with the frustrations people have.

Also, finally including AppLink to support third-party apps is a long time coming.

Overall, I think the company is heading in the right direction. Alan Mulally helped put the company on track, and Mark Fields’ focus will be on growth. While I think it’s too early to tell to judge Fields so far, the company seems to be on the right track.

Now if only we could get the Ranger!

What do you think? Let us know in the forums!

Chad Kirchner is a regular contributor to Corvette Forum and Ford Truck Enthusiasts, among other auto sites.

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