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The F-150: Ford to pick-up where they left off?

The Ford F-150 is a car that has achieved iconic status for the Ford Motor Company. The Ford F-Series has been in production by Ford since 1948 and has been a firm American favorite for years. It has been the number one selling truck in the US for 38 years straight and the saw the latest iteration released in 2014. The latest version has attempted to revolutionize sports utility vehicles and trucks by using an aluminum body with a steel frame, which has allowed the truck to shed approximately 750 pounds and therefore improve its fuel efficiency by 20%. The take up of the new F-150 has been better than expected according to Ford and has helped to kick-start sales for Ford in 2015. As of May 2015, the F-Series as a whole had contributed 302,009 sales out of 1,029,188; 29% of total sales. Each F-150 is selling at a rate of twenty days from delivery to the dealership.

Ford’s success with this new vehicle is a direct result of the One Ford plan employed by the then CEO, Alan Mulally in 2007. One of the key points of the plan is the acceleration of development of in demand products which shows a commitment to understanding what it is that a consumer requires. This is done by looking at who they are, their living habits and their requirements when looking for a car. Ford attempts to marry this with any new technologies developed from research, an Advanced Product Strategy, Advanced Design Groups and Advanced Marketing. Once a concept has been agreed upon and approved, the vehicle is brought to market using the Global Product Development System. Ford has surmised that the general requirement of the consumer is to gain better fuel economy, smart technology, contemporary design and thoughtful amenities.

However, Ford has faced a few bumps in the road. In terms of revenue, the F-150 may have contributed more if it was able to meet demand which has been amplified to the current low oil prices. Ford announced that it was cutting its two week summer vacation for workers down to a week at fourteen of its factories in North America. This issue may be seen by Ford as a nice issue to have in the grand scheme of things but damaging to potential revenues none the less. More worryingly, the safety of the vehicle has also been called into question recently with the Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) retesting some models of the F-150 due to the use of the aluminum panels rather than steel. The ramifications of this may be disastrous if mass recalls were to take place as this is damaging to revenues, and more importantly for Ford, the brand. These issues aside, the success of this vehicle has been as expected for Ford and will no doubt continue the tradition of being the number one selling truck in the US.

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