Mulallys One Ford programme made models such as the Focus global - the North American versions had diverged from Europes for some years

Mulally's One Ford programme made models such as the Focus global - the North American versions had diverged from Europe's for some years

Readers of just-auto could be forgiven for thinking we'd become PRs for Ford on Thursday due to the number of times the blue oval automaker got a mention. Just one of those coincidences that happen from time to time in the news biz.

The big news came rather earlier than expected - president and CEO Alan Mulally, the man from Boeing, would, about six months earlier than envisaged, 'retire' and hand the reins to seasoned COO Mark Fields who has been groomed for the top job for some years. Mulally in eight years steered the automaker through tough times without government help (unlike GM and Chrysler) and transformed the product line, especially smaller cars in North America, with the One Ford programme that shares platforms and designs as much as possible world wide, reducing development costs.

Fields has a fair number of successes to his own credit but he is filling a big pair of shoes and we wish him well. Editor Dave Leggett, who has met Mulally, today offers his thoughts on the change at the top, reflecting on how Mulally and Fields were able to work very well together.

Perhaps deliberately, perhaps coincidentally, Ford also announced the start of production in North America of the latest One Ford model - the 'European' Transit which, eventually, will replace an American icon, the long-serving Econoline/E-series van range. Ride airport or hotel shuttles in the US and before long, you're bound to be in one based on an E-series. The new US Transit vans, on sale in summer if it ever arrives, are ginormous, like the largest versions we get over here, with V6 petrol engines or big diesels. For Europe, where petrol powered vans are virtually unobtanium, Ford recently introduced a new, additional, mid-size Transit line that is fast becoming a common sight and, as in the US, there is also the small Connect line.

Our other Ford story was about new plant managers at the Dagenham and Bridgend engine plants here in the UK.

Elsewhere and away from Ford, we learned GM will again sell Opels in Australia, reverting to branding them Holden as done for several years some time back - the pre-Insignia Vectra was even assembled down under for a while.

Good quarterly/full fiscal year financial results continued to flow in - I figured yesterday we now had so many it was time to pile 'em up into one place for your delectation and delight - here.

Have a nice weekend. We're off for three days - Monday is a 'bank' holiday in Blighty.

Graeme Roberts, Deputy Editor,