Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Ford Builds One World Car

I heard on the radio yesterday that Ford is going to build just one model of each car for everyone. Their reasoning is that they will save money by building fewer vehicles. I’m sure that they will have some variation, like safety and pollution features; LHD and RHD. How do you think that this will work out for them? Does anyone have more information?

I don’t have any info about this, but it sounds like a good idea.

All the car companies have been doing this for years, with varying degrees of commonality and success. Remember the Chevette? Various versions were built world-wide by different GM divisions. The Ford Escort? Both US and European versions, but the US version was watered down. The original Focus was very close to the European version. So this is not really new, but it does sound like Ford’s going to be better about getting the same versions everywhere.

I believe it’s the Fiesta, which has been touted as a fun but economical car.

This is really old hat by now! Japanese companies perfected this some years back; they configured each car to meet the basic global needs and added modofications with respect to local safety and emission controls to suit local needs. The Yaris with its instrument pod in the middle of the dash stresses the need to cut cost by having only one dashboard for both left and right hand drive.

Ford has had some success; the Escort, as pointed out, was built in many countries. In SE Asia it was sold as the Ford Laser, and this model still had a carburetor in 1999.

My friend in Venezuela drove a Colombia-made Mazda 323 which had no seatbelts in the back, and vitually no emission controls; all to keep the cost down!

The new Ford Fiesta will be manufactured in the US and Mexico, and probaly also Brazil, and will differ very little from the British and German-built model. Just as the Saturn Astra was virtually indistinguishable, except for the power plants, from the European version built in Belgium.

These are all good examples, but the impression I got is that it will be much wider than previous attempts. To the greatest extent possible, they will be identical. So, maybe the Saturn Astra will be available with the 2.0CDTi diesel…

Agree; the Saturn product development budget was so miniscule that they only changed the grill (badge engineering), and offered the midrange engine. In Europe, GM cars, such as Opel and Vauxhall are available with 4 different engines. The Corsa I rented had a 1.4 liter 4, the others were a small diesel and a larger 4 and a turbo version. The Ford Focus is also offered with 4 different engines in Europe, including a diesel and a turbo version of the gas engine.

Since European safety and emission standards now exceed those in the US (more stringent) we will see more straight off the line models coming to North America. Frank Stronach of Magna has big plans for Opel and Vauxhall. My gues he will make a deal with Pensky to sell the complete line of Opels in the US under the Saturn name, but name only. These cars will be pure Opel, and they will also be made in Russia under a joint license. I would stay away from the Russian versions for a while.

World safety and emission standards are converging, and that will make it easy for manufacturers to standardize models and only offer local modifications to meet specific demands. For instance, Canadian models of US cars need stronger bumpers (they did not go along with Reagan’s rollback), stronger child restraint anchors and daytime always-on headlights.

The one area that still won’t be completely common is engines, especially diesels. The EPA specs for diesels are much tougher here than in Europe.

As long as the Fords and Government Motors models are from Australia, great. They get all the fun ones over there.

It’s about as good an idea as Kellog making one cereal . . . or Dell making one PC . . . . or Levi making one pair of jeans . . . you know what I mean? Consumers desire their own “personal” vehicle, certainly it would save money for Ford, but it would put them out of business. Rocketman

Agree; European cars emissions will be measured in grams of CO2 per kilometer, while in North America it will be parts per million. However, Mercedes and Volkswagen have proved they can easily meet North American diesel standards. I don’t think Fiat will have any problerms selling their diesel engines in the US.

As European, Japanese and North American standards tighhten up there will soon be the equivalent of one world standard.

I think that they will still have options for all of their cars, but the basic car - body, engine(s), drive train - will be available everywhere.