Innovation and its importance at Ford Motor Company
The Importance of Automobile Innovation at Ford Motor Company
Automobile Innovation at Ford Motor Company
Consumer Demand Drive's Ford's Innovative Vehicle Ideas
The automobile industry is largely competitive due to the demand of consumers and vehicle similarity. In the automotive industry a certain vehicle brand or company must be distinct and unique with similar features available in each vehicle. One company that incorporates design, creativity, and innovation into its product is Ford Motor Company. Ford Motor Company has achieved the goal of making its automobiles unique because of its heavy, strong trucks, efficient gas saving sedans, and unique structure and appearance. Due to constant brainstorming sessions on designs and creativity, Ford Motor Company has developed some of the top rated vehicles in the United States. Moreover, it will continue to strive to meet the needs of consumers with fresh designs, products, new ideas, and features to its automobiles.
Ford Motor Company's Use of New Technology
Many new technologies provide opportunities for companies like Ford to develop automobile breakthroughs and innovative ideas. By using advances into hybrid technology, Ford has developed a sport hybrid utility vehicle. This advancement, using the previous ideas generated for small vehicles, allows the popular SUV to produce the same responsible resource saving results. “With this system, the vehicle can operate on the electric motor alone, the gasoline engine alone or both together” (Ford, 2009). Hybrid vehicles are part of the going green trend, and often qualify owners for a tax deduction and lower gas prices throughout the year. Ford has also used innovation to introduce the all-wheel drive technology “to sedans and crossovers, with the introduction of the AWD Ford Five Hundred and Freestyle and Mercury Montego.” (Ford, 2009). This all-wheel drive technology will help small cars maintain better control by reducing the risk of wheels slipping during unfavorable weather conditions like rain or snow, a technology only previously available on sport utility vehicles.
Design of New Ford Models
Ford Motor Company takes the design of each of its products seriously. The term "design" can be defined as the decision-making process by which information is transformed into an outcome, be it product or service. At ford, model vehicles like the 2009 Mustange Gt, Mustang Bullitt and the new ford Flex Design are about doing things with intent, and not just because they have always produced similar models. Ford has accomplished this by comparing alternatives to select the best possible parts and making consistent design modifications, as well as exploring new opportunities and experimenting with new technology. Ford has worked with new "blind spot mirrors" that help reduce the amount of space that is invisible via the side view mirrors when facing forward. Many of the new features included in the new Ford vehicles focus on safety, and create new solutions for recurring safety problems for all automobile manufacturers.
Ford Mustang GT - Ford Mustang Bullit - Ford Flex
Ford's Mustang GT, Ford's Mustang Bullit, and the New Ford Flex are examples of vehicles that combine power, safety, and style. Advanced side curtain airbag designs and other advanced safety features are modifications of past technologies, and help improve the overall automobile safety rating. In fact, Ford usually refers to its safety curtains as "Safety Canopies" to differentiate the quality in its side airbags from the side airbags its competitors offer. The Ford Taurus and Ford Ranger have also both made quality improvements for the upcoming year!
Ford's Global Design Team
The Ford Motor Company has a global design team that coordinates the company’s efforts across all its vehicles lines (Stamm, 2003). Moreover, it has exceptionally knowledgeable personnel in the design division including individuals who have the academic and practical experience to produce many innovative products. The strategic design branch is introducing 100% post-industrial material into vehicle interiors which are currently found in Ford’s luxury line of Lincoln automobiles. Ford Motor Company has formed a partnership with U-Haul to study the feasibility of using advanced chemical formulation of high-solids, solvent-borne paint with an innovative three-wet application process that requires a smaller, less expensive and cleaner paint shop than traditional automotive paint facilities.
Ford's Strategic Initiatives to Stimulate Company Growth
Strategically, Ford Motor Company has initiatives in place to stimulate future growth. The near terms see the company not flexible enough to seize current market opportunities in the auto industry. The introduction of 100% post-industrial material like in the 2008 Ford Escape is estimated to conserve 600,000 gallons of water during production. The introduction of the new painting process is also estimated to reduce CO2 emissions per vehicles by 10% and would reduce a factory footprint by 15%. EcoBoost technology combine dual turbo chargers and direct fuel injection in order give the driver the feeling of a V-8 in a V-6 engine. The new technology is on the horizon for 2009 and later vehicles. Furthermore, there is a redistribution of hybrid technology currently found in the Ford Escape to mid-size cars. These design initiatives could provide products consumers finds appealing and shift their consumer dollars to the Ford Motor Company (Ford, 2009).
New Creations at Ford Motor Company
In order to appeal to a broader range of consumers, Ford must continue to be creative in its ideas and strive to develop vehicles that are unique in both style and features. Being creative for Ford means producing quality vehicles that are fuel efficient, safe, and cost effective; these are some of the things a consumer tends to lean toward when making the decision to purchase a vehicle. Ford is committed to its customers and believes in listening to what the customers want and need. Ford is constantly utilizing the advancements in technology to improve quality. In its commitment to improve the manufacturing process, Ford uses virtual ergonomic technology to make jobs easier for its workers, which has helped to reduce injuries for the employees, while also improving vehicle quality and lowering production cost (Ford, 2008).
Ford trying to Meet Goals and Objectives - Appealing to Consumer Demands
To ensure Ford meets goals and objectives the company must stay ahead of its competitors in creating and implementing new ideas. Consumers know what they want which is the reason conforming to those needs is critical. Moreover, it will allow Ford to keep its current market and entice new customers by maintaining a creative advantage over its competition. Ford will need to continue strategically releasing new and creative ideas in order to make it a popular choice for the target market. Creativity will be the defining point in whether or not the company is successful, which is why creating and enhancing its vehicles to meet consumer desires is critical to gain a competitive advantage.
Automotive Industry in Market Share - New Ford Models Still Released
Several automobile companies, including Ford Motor Company and its main competitors General Motors and Chrysler, have recently experienced an extensive loss in market share. The recent events require Ford Motor Company and its competitors to change the existing business practices and product offerings in order to stay in business. In order to capitalize on new and innovative technologies, Ford executives must have a clear understanding of the main external and internal drivers that leverage innovative technologies and practices. Some of the most important external drivers pushing Ford and other American Auto Makers to take a new approach on innovation are the consumer, the declining global economy, and rising fuel costs. In 2009, the auto industry is experiencing record losses due to fewer consumers purchasing cars.
Big 3 American Automakers - Ford Manufacturing Cars With High Fuel Consumption
The automakers most affected by the difficult economic times are the Big Three American Automakers. Until 2008, Ford and its competitors focused on manufacturing cars with high fuel consumption. A recent study found that auto sales overall declined by 18% in 2008, with sport utility vehicle and truck sales falling 44% (Wall Street Journal, 2009). Rising fuel costs and the global recession are going to continually drive this trend well into 2009. Through an investment in innovative technologies, the company will continue providing groundbreaking products like the fuel efficient, dual-clutch power-shift transmission which will be used in its line of compact cars in 2010 (Ford, 2009).
External Drivers affecting Ford Motor Company
Another external driver affecting Ford is the Federal Government and its stance on emissions. As of 2009, the Big Three Automakers have failed to comply with the Kyoto protocol. The Kyoto Protocol was enacted to reduce GHG (Greenhouse Gas Emissions) produced by developing countries (Reese, 2007). While Ford and other American Automakers are producing cars with better fuel efficiency and lower emissions, they are not up to the standard mandated by the Kyoto Protocol. The Big Three continue to oppose the protocol because each views it as “too extreme” (Reese, 2007). One study found the United States alone contributes to 25% percent of the world greenhouse emissions, but only contains 5% percent of the world population (Reese, 2007). Since Ford and its two main competitors have hesitated to abide by the Kyoto Protocol, foreign automakers like Toyota and Honda are steadily acquiring more of the market share. Furthermore, the Obama administration is in the process of implementing higher emission regulations, forcing the American Automakers to comply. Ford can regain more of the market share and operate under the new emission regulations by investing in cutting edge technologies like fuel cell research, hydrogen power and ethanol fueled engines, and using them in new production models going forward.
Fuel Efficient Ford Models Essential - Hybrids Released
While external drivers such as the economy and fuel emissions impact Ford’s market share, the auto industries unionized labor force is an internal driver that has an equally negative effect on the American Auto Industry. According to Jeffrey Rothstein (2008), the American Automakers have provided blue collar assembly line workers with upper middle class wages. Japanese automakers Toyota and Honda have been able to gain market share by building and operating Non-Unionized Plants and practicing lean manufacturing (Rothstein, 2008). As of 2008, Ford’s competitor General Motors plans to lay off 16,000 workers and hire entry level workers as a replacement in order to save 4.5 billion dollars annually by the year 2010 (Rothstein, 2008). Ford can do the same by reorganizing its own workforce and investing in innovative lean manufacturing practices and technologies going forward.
Ford Vehicles that Make You Look Good and Green
In conclusion, Ford Motor Company developed several vehicles to accommodate consumer demands and desires. Consumers are constantly looking for the most current product with the latest features in order to be satisfied with their purchase. If Ford Motor Company can continue developing creative and innovative elements into its vehicles, it will retain the current customer as well as acquire new customers. Moreover, creativity, design, and innovation will give Ford a competitive advantage that will increase its market share. In the tough automotive industry, the advantage is to branch out and take risks to stand out with different designs or functions that will grab consumers’ interest.
Benefits and Drivers Proposal
This hub has been established as a proposal in which we analyze how Ford Motor Company will benefit from becoming more innovative and creative. It also addresses the following:
a. How innovation, design, design, and creativity support Ford's goals and objectives.
b. The internal and external drivers of innovation for Ford Motor Company.
Ford Motor Company (2009). “Design”. Retrieved January 26, 2009 from http://www.ford.com/innovation/auto-design.
Ford Motor Company (2009). “Innovation”. Retrieved January 29, 2009 from http://www.ford.com/innovation/innovation.
von Stamm, B. (2003). Managing Innovation, Design, and Creativity. West Sussex, England: John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
Ford Motor Company (2009). Retrieved January 27, 2009 from http://www.ford.com.
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