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 TRAVERSE CITY, Mich., Aug. 6 /PRNewswire/ -- With its new global car program, Ford Motor Company (NYSE: F) capitalizes on its international resources in technology, engineering, supply, manufacturing and product development, said William H. Fike, president of Ford of Europe.
 Speaking at University of Michigan's Automotive Management Briefing here today, Mr. Fike said that the global cars -- introduced in Europe this year as the Mondeo and to be launched next year as the Ford Contour and Mercury Mystique in North America -- are "world cars in all the ways that count."
 "Engine, transmission, suspension, body structure, right through to the seats -- all major systems and components and functional attributes -- are essentially common in both Europe and North American versions," he said, adding that the cars are different where it counts. "The cars are localized with unique interior and exterior appearances to address the differing tastes of markets and customers."
 The single largest project in Ford's 90-year history, the global cars represent an all-new platform for mid-sized cars with three body styles, right-and left-hand drive, three versions of four-cylinder engines, an all-new aluminum modular V-6 engine and all-new manual and automatic transmissions. It also encompasses a host of advanced technologies and retooling in six component and two assembly plants in five countries on two continents.
 "We decided to take an exponential leap into the 21st Century to draw fully on all of our global resources, to use a common global development process, a coordinated investment plan and an integrated network of international suppliers," Mr. Fike said.
 He noted the benefits of such a global effort are numerous -- a design that draws on Ford's extensive expertise around the world, creating a car that envelops customer expectations of each region. At the same time, such an effort achieves the benefit of commonization -- dramatically reducing engineering, materials, manufacturing and tooling costs.
 "This global approach offers the economies of large scale production," he said. "We could afford to invest far more in a product which would have sales in excess of 700,000 units globally, than to invest in a product with a 300,000 unit potential in a single market or niche."
 To best leverage Ford's worldwide engineering experience and expertise, the company put together a single powerhouse of a cross- functional and co-located global car team.
 Ford of Europe was chosen as the global car team leader and project coordinator. Its experience with lighter, more fuel-efficient cars and a larger small car market -- provided European team members with expertise in four-cylinder power plants, diesels and manual transmissions. American team members were tapped for their experience with higher-powered modular engines, automatic transmissions, power steering and climate controls.
 Component suppliers were included in the team up front. Many were already pan-European and pan-North American, with the ability to set up facilities close to the assembly plant to ensure just-in-time delivery and reduced inventories.
 Communications between team members on both sides of the Atlantic embraced daily video conferences and using what Mr. Fike described as one of the most sophisticated global communication networks in the industry -- the Cray 4 MP.
 Mr. Fike said that the Cray 4 MP machine -- the largest non- government-owned supercomputer in the world -- handles as many as 70,000 finite elements simultaneously allowing a level of a real-time intercontinental collaboration on two continents, which was never before possible.
 The benefits of such collaboration are becoming evident in Europe with the successful launch of the Ford Mondeo earlier this year.
 "The European Mondeo's introduction has been an unqualified success, with 257,000 dealer orders in the first six months of production," Mr. Fike said, noting that the results are particularly significant given Europe's severe economic downturn.
 On quality, Mondeo has moved Ford to a higher level of expectation. Internal company audits show that this was the highest quality launch in Ford of Europe's history.
 "Early customer satisfaction reports are outstanding," he said. "Fully 98 percent of all customers praise Mondeo. Nine out of 10 owners rate the Mondeo as the best car they have ever owned. And, virtually all owners say they would personally recommend it to their friends."
 Mondeo is already being sold in Taiwan, it will be available in Hong Kong, Singapore and the Middle East, and the right-hand-drive version will be exported from Europe to the Japanese market early next year.
 -0- 8/6/93
 /CONTACT: Judith A. Muhlberg of Ford, 313-322-9600/

CO: Ford Motor Company ST: Michigan IN: AUT SU:

ML -- DE001 -- 0207 08/06/93 09:29 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Aug 6, 1993

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