Ford is launching ten new or redesigned vehicles this year, bringing its line-up age down to a scant 2.4 years, according to a Merrill Lynch report. Product Chief Derrick Kuzak told the Free Press that the goal is to keep the product lineup fresh, and the Blue Oval is getting the job done with fewer models and vehicle platforms.
Back in 2004, Ford had 92 vehicles in its product lineup, and that number was dropped to 59 by 2008. Ford also cut platforms from 27 to 16 during that time frame, slicing engineering costs by a whopping 60% as a result.
Ford intends to keep up the accelerated pace of vehicle launches in 2010 with the introduction of the new Fiesta, a global Focus, the Transit Connect electric, a heavily updated Super Duty pickup lineup, and an all-new unibody Explorer. Autoconomy analyst Erich Merkle reportedly told the Free Press that the Blue Oval has "a tidal wave of new product" planned for the next 18 months.
Citibank analyst Itay Michaeli is reportedly questioning whether Ford can keep up this frenetic pace of vehicle launches as the automaker continues to lose money. Analysts were expecting Ford to lose about 53 cents per share in the second quarter, after burning through $3.7 billion in cash in Q1, but the company surprised many by losing only 21 cents per share on continuing operations. Ford CEO Alan Mulally says the company has the money to execute it's plan.