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, and as part of our ONE Ford global integration process, 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 carbon dioxide emission-reduction goal, coupled with a commitment to class-leading fuel economy, has been translated into fuel economy targets for each new vehicle. Our targets aim to make our vehicles either leaders or among the leaders compared to competitor vehicles in the same segments. We develop these competitive vehicle attribute targets for every vehicle program, to deliver on key customer demands and Ford strategies, by using a range of consumer data, internal brand data and competitor vehicle data. Based on this process, we have committed that every all-new or redesigned vehicle we introduce will be the best in class or among the best in class for fuel economy in its segment. We are following through on this commitment with vehicles introduced in both the U.S. and Europe, and we will continue to do so in future product launches. For examples of 2012 and 2013 vehicles that meet this commitment, please see Vehicle.
In addition, we have identified global leaders and attribute teams within Ford who coordinate the development of the global product attribute targets in key areas such as sustainable materials, recycling, materials of concern, vehicle interior air quality and vehicle lifecycle issues. These leaders coordinate the global implementation of our corporate sustainability strategies and support our ONE Ford strategy to harmonize product development across regions.
We use a Design for Sustainability (DfS) approach to maximize the environmental, social and economic performance of our vehicles early on in the product conception and development process. Our Product Sustainability Index is our primary tool for incorporating DfS principles into our vehicles. For more information on this process please see Design for Lifecycle Sustainability: Product Sustainability Index.