Mulally: Ford could reduce lineup to as few as 20 nameplates

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Bloomberg News is reporting that Ford Motor Co. CEO Alan Mulally hinted that the automaker might drop its vehicle lineup to as few as 20 nameplates.

Speaking at the Confederation of British Industry in London yesterday, Mulally said, “fewer brands means you can put more focus into improving the quality of engineering.”

“There will be less than 30, on our way to 20 to 25,” he said.

According to Automotive News, Ford offered upwards of 97 different nameplates when Mulally took over as CEO four years ago. Though the lineup has been reduced thanks to sales of Jaguar, Land Rover, Aston Martin and Volvo, there has been some core Ford reduction with the discontinuation of Mercury in North America.

“It was absolutely clear that we had to simplify Ford dramatically,” he said.

Mulally said that streamlining offerings and simplifying production helps with distribution and lets dealers, suppliers, employees and consumers “know exactly what they’re getting.”

Under his watch, the Blue Oval has successfully completed sales of its Jaguar Land Rover unit to Tata Motors Ltd. in 2008 and the recent offloading of Volvo to Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co. of China for $1.3 billion last month.

“The key thing now is to keep the economy going,” he told Bloomberg. “All the fundamentals say that we are moving in the right direction,” noting the large prospect of Asian expansion.

- With files from Bloomberg News