Talk to anyone in Ford’s management these days, and one thing becomes instantly clear: CEO Alan Mulally is universally regarded as a dynamic leader and management visionary. Sure, he’s had to deal out some tough love, but no one in the organization above the mailroom level can say they didn’t see it coming. The net result is that Ford is well positioned financially, and has a range of products with broader appeal than ever before.
As recently as 2006, Ford had nearly 100 models across all of it brands, which included Jaguar, Aston Martin, Range Rover, Volvo, Lincoln, Mercury and Ford. Today, the company is down to just 26 individual model lines, spread between Ford and Lincoln. Left Lane News quotes Mulally as pushing for further reductions; in a recent speech in London, he said, “There will be less than 30, on our way to 20 to 25 [model lines].”
Fewer models makes life easier for dealers, who can carry higher inventories of in-demand vehicles; parts departments, who can reduce the overall number of SKUs in inventory, and dealership sales staff, who no longer have to remember obscure facts on cars that don’t sell. Will Ford lose customers by not offering “something for everyone”? Perhaps, but with the quality of the their current product line, it’s hard to imagine them losing a significant amount of business.