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March 27, 2003

USA: Ford names two new product development vice-presidents

Ford has promoted two executives to key North American product development posts. Chris Theodore is named to the newly established position of vice president, advanced product creation and Phil Martens is appointed vice president, product creation, North America.

By bcusack

Ford has promoted two executives to key North American product development posts.

Chris Theodore is named to the newly established position of vice president, advanced product creation and Phil Martens is appointed vice president, product creation, North America.

Theodore’s role includes creating a strategic design vision for Ford, Lincoln and Mercury products and brands; developing new products and features; bringing together technology, marketing and trends with concepts and show vehicles; and facilitating a stable cycle plan and platform selections.

Theodore also assumes leadership of the Ford Performance Group, including SVT, and advanced product activities throughout North America.

“Chris Theodore has made a major mark on Ford as the ‘father’ of the Ford GT and the inspiration behind the company’s coming resurgence in the car market,” said Ford executive vice president Jim Padilla.

In his new role, Martens oversees the design, engineering and development of all Ford, Lincoln and Mercury cars and light trucks sold in North America and is also responsible for managing the product creation process in North America – including advanced and manufacturing engineering and product and business strategy – in line with the company’s increased emphasis on platform commonality, system engineering, reusability and speed.

“Last month, we announced a realignment of our North America product development organisation into four platform groups that will be responsible for sets of like vehicles. The changes are part of our accelerated North America revitalisation plan and will result in increased new-product introductions – with more than 65 new products in the next five years – as well as significant cost savings, quality improvements and quicker overall product development time,” Padilla said.

The changes to Ford’s product creation process announced last month involve more flexible vehicle platforms as well as increased commonality and standardisation of components and processes. Ford is aiming for a 10% annual product development productivity improvement and a 25% reduction in the number of platforms in North America by 2010.

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