Bill Ford is talking about innovation today at the Ford Trends conference.
He started with two quotes that struck me:
Henry Ford – “If I’d asked my customers originally what they wanted, they would have said a faster horse. ”
Bill Ford – “The car industry back then was the ultimate disruptive industry.”
Ford says when he recruited Alan Mulally as CEO and they talked about the restructuring that was needed at Ford, they agreed two things:
“We wanted to be the fuel economy leader, which was interesting, because the reason customers rejected us was fuel economy, and we wanted to be the leader in technology. And the first probably depended on the second.”
Part of the issue back then according to Bill was when you wanted to be green, a passion of Bill Ford’s, you had to give up something, for example horsepower, until technology progressed. Ford envisions that Ford is changing that now. Among other things by investing in the Ecoboost platform combining direct fuel injection and turbochargers and the Energi platform to supercharge the hybrid and plugin products, and driving these hyper efficient meets high performance technology platforms to be basically standard across all models. But technology is a lot more than drive train these days, as Ford is heavily into information technology, communications, and networking.
Ford says the rate of innovation in automotive today is something that he hasn’t seen in his working lifetime. Basically Ford views us undergoing a revolution back to disruptive technology in the auto sector. I love this idea. And having driven the Ford Energi platform cars, I totally agree.