Fields predicts 'breakthrough year' for Ford in 2015
DETROIT -- Ford Motor Co. CEO Mark Fields said 2015 will be â€œa breakthrough year“ for Ford after a large number of vehicle launches trimmed profit margins in 2014.
â€œOur investments are going to be paying off,“ Fields said at a media event to unveil the newest generation of its Sync infotainment system. â€œThis sets us up for growth beyond 2015.“
Ford has 16 launches planned in 2015 -- including the Edge, Focus and Explorer. That”s down from 23 this year, with two of its most important nameplates among them: the Mustang and F-150.
Ford said it plans to introduce 12 performance vehicles globally by 2020 under the umbrella of a new division aimed at enthusiasts.
Among the first vehicles to be part of the Ford Performance team is the Ford Focus RS, which will be sold in the U.S. for the first time ever. The RS, which is a step above the ST model, dates back to 1968 and was last redesigned in 2009.
The Ford Performance team brings together Ford”s racing, performance vehicles and parts divisions. It will operate at Ford”s global engineering centers and its new technical center in Charlotte, N.C.
Ford also said it will help launch a new technology incubator in Detroit that will assist startup companies focused on mobility. Ford, Magna International and Verizon Telematics are combining to contribute $2 million to the incubator, known as Techstars Mobility, which intends to nurture 30 companies over a three-year period.
Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford said he wants Ford to be involved in developing mobility technologies of the future and doesn”t feel threatened by new business models such as Zipcar and Uber that could reduce car ownership.
â€œWe need to make sure that we”re the locus of activity here in the Motor City,“ Ford said. He said the incubator will give â€œan injection of new thought into the auto industry, and I think that”s really interesting.“
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