Dearborn, Michigan – The Ford Motor Company has announced it is taking further steps to align its product development and purchasing organizations into an integrated global team, with the aim of accelerating vehicle creation, cost reduction and quality enhancement, and improving efficiency by eliminating duplicate engineering and purchasing efforts.

Under changes effective April 1, Ford is assigning global responsibility for its product development and purchasing organizations, and is designating a global network of engineering centres that will be responsible for developing the core attributes of Ford brand vehicles worldwide.

“We have successfully shared technologies across many of our product lines in the past,” said Derrick Kuzak, Ford’s group vice president, Global Product Development. “These changes will allow us to fully leverage Ford’s global product development and purchasing organizations to create more customer-focused vehicles faster.”

Under the new structure, Ford is designating global product development leads for different vehicle segments, and is assembling joint product development and purchasing teams worldwide. Teams in North America will be responsible for electrical and body engineering for vehicles worldwide, as well as select powertrains including V6, V8 and hybrid engines, along with automatic transmissions, while teams in Europe will be responsible for chassis engineering and four-cylinder and diesel powertrains, plus manual transmissions. Asia Pacific and Africa engineering and purchasing resources will be integrated into their respective groups in Europe and the Americas.

Certain vehicle systems will continue to be developed on a regional basis, such as the F-Series trucks, whose chassis engineering will remain in North America, while teams in Asia Pacific and Africa will continue to be responsible for the global compact pickup truck development program.

The changes are designed to further enhance the speed at which new vehicles are brought to market, with a goal of improving the average age of the product portfolio in North America by 35 per cent by 2009. The company said that the changes supporting the new structure will not result in layoffs or large-scale relocations.