The European Focus, Focus C-Max, Focus Coupe-Cabriolet, Volvo S40, V50, C30, C70, Mazda3, Mazda5, and CX-7 have a lot in common, despite first appearances. These vehicles all use elements of the C1 platform. And they all point to what the future of Ford might be. By using this shared architecture for everything from inexpensive hatchbacks to upscale convertibles, Ford was able to cut engineering costs by 30 percent.

According to Derrick Kuzak, the man who developed the C1 platform for the European Ford Focus, this is what Ford needs for future products as well: A shared versatile architecture with a high amount of variation.

"If you look at C1, it's almost a microcosm of what we're trying to do in the enterprise as a whole," says Kuzak. "Having a very strong and capable platform -- and on top of that you put very unique products that are unique not just in how they look but are very consistent with the individual brand DNA."

Perhaps this is the boldest move yet for Ford, but one of the most obvious. Kuzak seems to have the right idea, but he'll have to move quickly. Time is short and so is development money for this company that desperately needs a home run to get back in the game. At the soonest, his new models wouldn't even reach showrooms until 2008. Follow the read link for even more insight into the future of Ford.

[Source: AutoWeek]


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