Ford forges ahead with new product plan

Nov. 13, 2008 at 12:20 PM
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DEARBORN, Mich., Nov. 13 (UPI) -- U.S. automaker Ford Motor Co. said it is forging ahead with new product development in a sink or swim strategy to reverse its declining market share.

"We're only going to be in business if we create products that people really do want and value," Chief Executive Officer Alan Mulally told The Detroit News. "This is the essence of creating a viable Ford," he said.

Industry analyst Eric Selle of J.P. Morgan echoed the executive's sentiments. "The status quo is no longer acceptable. Abandoning the product plan would have been a bad move," he said.

Mulally and global product development chief Derrick Kuzak have argued for six weeks in lengthy board meetings to stay the course on product development, the News reported.

Standard weekly Thursday meetings became all-day sessions, as company executives groped for a strategy to preserve Ford's liquidity.

Meetings then lasted into the night. Work sessions lasted through the weekends until consolidation and pressing forward became the strategy of choice, the News reported.

"The whole intent from the beginning was to protect the product plan ... and look for every other element of cash that isn't directly tied to the products," Kuzak said.

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