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AUTO NEWS CONGRESS: Mark Fields highlights Ford's recent successes and discusses future goals
Ford Motor Company COO Mark Fields was the keynote speaker on Tuesday night
DETROIT -- Ford Motor Company Chief Operating Officer Mark Fields said Ford will release 23 new or refreshed vehicles with 16 of them being in North America. He was the keynote speaker on the first day of the 2014 Automotive News World Congress. Many automotive insiders believe Fields will be next in line to become CEO when Alan Mulally steps down sometime this year.
"We're laying the foundation for profitable growth for years to come in our company with the most aggressive manufacturing expansion that the company has undergone in 50 years,” Fields said. “That includes the hiring of 11,000 people in the U.S. and Asia just this year. There is more competition than ever in seizing growth in B-sized vehicles. Ford is now challenging Toyota as world’s utility leader. We remain committed to reinventing Lincoln as a world luxury brand."
North American small car sales are up more than 40 percent since 2009, the COO said. Globally, the luxury market will add 2.3 million vehicles by 2018. China and India are two emerging markets to keep an eye on. Buyers are expecting cars that integrate their mobile devices. For the first time, women outnumber males in purchasing or leasing new vehicles. Women are buying utility vehicles while baby boomers are choosing crossovers.
“Consumers are looking to have every dollar spent go more and more,” he explained. “The move to luxury market is led by Gen-X and Millennials around the world. They’re willing to invest in products that fit their unique lifestyles. Millennials have different expectations. Many have put off buying vehicles having come of age during the recession. They are much more comfortable like opting to rent like Zipcar. Upgrading every two years is the norm. Millennials and women exert new power. We’re taking them very seriously and reacting to it.”
This year, Ford is launching 23 new or significantly redesigned vehicles to its line-up. Those include the new 2015 Ford Mustang and the all-aluminum Ford F-150. Fields said the automaker is laying the foundation for years of profitable growth in the future. Ford has hired 5,000 new workers in America and 6,000 employees in Asia.
“We’re part of an industry that has even more promise than tech and telecom,” Fields said. “For us at Ford, the promise starts with our One Ford plan. Our plan is all about being firmly focused on serving customers around the world with a full family of vehicles—small, medium and large. All with the best quality, fuel efficiency, safety, smart design and value. This plan has served us very well for our transformation over the past few years.”
Globally, 2.1 billion people are reaching driving age while the number of middle-income customers are growing. Ford is more committed than ever to seize the growth in B-Class vehicles, the COO explained. The Fiesta, Ka (UK) and Figo (India) are selling very well in their respective markets.
“We’re also focused on growth in utilities, which is really building on Ford’s strength and reputation,” he said. “From our considerable success in EcoSport in South America, Asia and now in Europe to record sales of the Escape and the Kuga and our continued global growth for our iconic Ford Explorer. In the same way, we’re already the largest manufacturer of commercial vehicles in the segments in which we compete. We’re eyeing even more growth in the years ahead thanks to great new products like the new Transit.”
Fields concluded by confirming that Ford is still committed to the Lincoln brand. He also touched on autonomous vehicles that will one day drive themselves. The COO said the automaker is working to better meet the needs of women buyers this year.
For more information about Ford’s 23 new or redesigned vehicles, visit www.fordvehicles.com.
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He said Ford's small car sales are up more than 40 percent since 2009 in North America.
"Consumers are looking to have every dollar spent go more and more," Fields explained.
He said the luxury market will add 2.3 million vehicles by 2018.
The COO said Ford's sales increase is due to customers voting with wallets and their rising incomes.
This page was last updated on Mon, March 24, 2014 9:41 PM
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