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Ford aims to reinvent Detroit

Jan. 22, 2006 at 8:55 PM

NEW YORK, Jan. 22 (UPI) -- Ford Motor Co.'s so-called innovation revolution revolves around a top-secret project aimed at building a recyclable car.

Time magazine reports Ford's Piquette Project, known only by very top-level Ford executives, harkens back to Henry Ford's innovative experiments with soy-based polymers and the idea of agriculture and industry being closely linked.

"The mission was, 'Could Ford design the Model T of the next century?'" says William McDonough, an expert on green architecture who is running the sustainability part of the project.

William Clay Ford Jr., the 48-year-old CEO of Ford Motor Co. and great-grandson of the auto company's founder, tells Time Ford's biggest challenge is "to restore a sense of confidence, externally and internally, in the company."

This week he is unveiling "Way Forward," a last-ditch effort to save the company by taking some big chances.

"The old way of doing things doesn't work," Ford says. "Is (this) risky? Of course it's risky. But I tell you what: Going the way we were going is the highest risk of all."

The report comes amid speculation the automaker is also poised to announce substantial cuts in its labor force.