At the prodding of Alan Mulally, Ford Motor Co. is relenting and giving its customers what they want. At least most of them. What Ford's up to is reducing the number of options for buyers to choose from and rolling all that goodness into the standard package. By reducing the number of possible variations on the general theme, production costs decrease. With fewer configurations, things move more smoothly at the assembly level, and engineering and management costs decrease, as well. The effort has already kicked off, and it will snowball from model to model, making it easier for customers to get what they want, and increasing the odds that dealers will have the cars customers want on their lots. The simplification effort is a step that can be enacted quickly; a lot faster than bringing over a platform from somewhere else. It's all part of an effort to chip away at the losses and return black ink to the ledger. More stuff, packaged the way we like it? Sounds like a win.

[Source: Auto News - sub req.]