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When Alan Mulally took charge of Ford four years ago, the Blue Oval had nearly 100 models. There are fewer than half that now, and the CEO wants to trim the number down to "less than 30, on our way to 20 to 25." His goal of simplification appears to be driven by the desire to cut costs for everyone – distributors, suppliers, dealerships, as well as Ford itself. That will not only help the brand in the present as it makes do in lean times, but can compound the rewards when markets – e

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 ha

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