Ford's Mark Fields Says Auto Companies Must 'Change or Die'

GM's plan to continue to focus on large, though somewhat more fuel efficient sport utility vehicles is 'old thinking'says Ford's American president.

Published: 11-Jan-2006

The shift by US drivers away from highly profitable large sport utility vehicles will accelerate this year, forcing Detroit's carmakers to "change or die", the new head of Ford Motor's American business warned on Wednesday.

Mark Fields, president of Ford's Americas division since October, also confirmed that Ford was planning to re-enter the small car segment in the US for the first time since 1997, though he gave no indication of when.

The warning by Mr Fields sets up Ford in stark opposition to rival General Motors. GM is betting on a revival of interest in its largest SUVs this year to help it recover from its worst financial crisis in more than a decade. It has dubbed 2006 the "year of the truck".


Third quarter losses and fierce competition for American car and truck buyers, prompted the automaker to launch a corporate-wide campaign last month to reposition Ford Motor as a leader in innovation and cutting-edge energy policies.

While Ford is having trouble getting hybrids to American buyers, in the UK, Ford cars average 20-40 mpg more than their US counterparts.

Ford's next hybrid will be the Fusion slated to be introduced in 2008, along with the Mercury Milan Hybrid.


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