Product Development

The development of our new products starts with an understanding of the consumer: who they are, how they live and what they want in a vehicle. Next, comes the identification of advanced technologies and breakthrough ideas by our Research Labs and our Advanced Product Strategy, Advanced Marketing and Advanced Design groups. These and other groups work within an annual planning process to assess the latest developments in technologies and consumer trends to identify the best new technologies and anticipate the needs and desires of the marketplace. Our product cycle plan defines timing for new or updated vehicles, and the associated technology applications. Product development engineers, designers and product marketing teams work together to finalize a vehicle concept. Once the business case is approved, our vehicle programs are brought to market using our Global Product Development System, or GPDS.

The GPDS, launched in 2005, merges the best product-creation methods from all of Ford Motor Company’s global operations and is refreshed continually with the latest lessons learned as we develop new products. The GPDS provides a common set of milestones and metrics for the development of all vehicle programs across our regional business groups, which increases efficiency and quality. As a part of this system, we require all vehicles to meet specific competitive and performance targets at every milestone along the product’s development path. These targets consider a wide range of environmental performance criteria, such as fuel economy, recycled materials and substances of concern. For example, our product CO2 emission reduction goal, coupled with a commitment to class-leading fuel economy, has been translated into fuel economy targets for each new vehicle.