Speaking at the Greater Los Angeles Auto Show, Ford Executive Vice President Mark Fields said the automaker must articulate a clear vision for each of the company's brands.
"It's time to play offense," he said. "It's time to take back our future. And the clock is ticking."
Fields, 44, took over as president of Ford's Americas unit Oct. 1 and has overseen planned job cuts and factory closings that Ford intends to announce Jan. 23.
He said the company's research shows most Americans want to buy American cars, but only if they can get the same level of quality and style they can from a foreign make.
Fields has distilled the strategy into a new internal rallying cry: "Red, White & Bold," which will be reflected in a new generation of bold designs.