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July 31, 2017updated 09 Apr 2021 12:37pm

New Ford CEO has review in mind – report

As new CEOs often do, Ford's Jim Hackett is throughly scrutinising many aspects of the company, according to a media report.

As new CEOs often do, Ford's Jim Hackett is throughly scrutinising many aspects of the company, according to a media report.

Reuters said he was reviewing the automaker's operations in India and elsewhere plus future product programmes including plans to build a self-driving commercial vehicle in 2021.

Company officials and other sources informed the news agency Hackett has told investors he is working on a 100 day review but has so far provided few details except to indicate he it is looking at the automakers' luxury vehicle strategy, the future of its small vehicles and investments in emerging markets.

On the record, chief financial officer Bob Shanks told Reuters the review covered a range of issues, including Ford's strategy for India.

"We have a lot of work to do [as] we address issues of how to fix India," Shanks said. "Everything is on the table."

Last May, as Hackett was taking over Ford from Mark Fields, General Motors announced cuts to its international operations which it said would save it around US$100m a year. Among the measures announced would be a withdrawal from selling Chevrolet vehicles in India (its manufacturing there moves to export only) and South Africa, two emerging markets widely viewed in the auto industry as having good growth potential.

Shanks told Reuters no decisions had been made (the company was relatively late into India) and said Ford had a larger business in India than GM did.

"We are very cognisant that will be the third largest market in the world," he said.

"Some big decisions will be made," Shanks added but said Ford might not disclose all those decisions at the end of the 100 day review.

The review of the Lincoln luxury brand includes whether current plans will meet former CEO Mark Fields' ambitious targets for growth and revenue, sources told Reuters.

Ford has set a target of putting a self driving shuttle into commercial ride sharing fleets by 2021. Hackett is reviewing the investment and timing for that project, they added.

Hackett also assessing whether to reduce and consolidate production of models such as the Fiesta subcompact and two midsized sedans that are built in multiple locations around the world but are experiencing slowing demand.

That is a legacy of pre-Fields Ford chief Alan Mulally's 'One Ford' programme.

Reuters said one proposal would shift production of the next generation Mondeo from Europe to Mexico where it would share an assembly line with its sibling Fusion, avoiding the cost of retooling two plants.

That might send shivers down the spines of European union leaders in workers after Ford in 2014 closed its Genk, Belgium plant, which made the Mondeo, and transferred production to Valencia in Spain.

Reuters noted Hackett, soon after becoming Ford CEO, approved a proposal to shift production of the next Focus for North America from Mexico to China, saving an estimated US$500m by consolidating two factories into one.

According to the news agency, Hackett also is said to be questioning a plan to build at least six future models, including replacements for the Mustang and Explorer and Lincoln Continental, on a new flexible platform that is designed to accommodate both front- and rear-wheel-drive vehicles.

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