Graphic: Shifting Gears at Ford

Dash Portals

  • Old e-strategy: To give new cars Web access, satellite phone services and e-mail capabilities, and collect millions in Net services fees.
  • Fate: Projects halted, Wingcast telematics effort scrapped, buyers turned off by glitchy technology and pricey markups.
  • New strategy: Telematics being used by Ford’s delivery fleet only, to monitor fuel costs.
  • Payoff: Fleet maintenance costs are decreasing.


  • Old e-strategy: To create BuyerConnection Web site with Microsoft to let Ford buyers bypass dealer markups and order cars factory-direct.
  • Fate: Ford dissolved Microsoft partnership.
  • New e-strategy: FordDirect
    site, run by dealers, is now used to boost sales.

  • Payoff: In the past year, Ford sold 100,000 cars from leads that wouldn’t have been generated otherwise, for extra revenues of $1.6 billion.


  • Old e-strategy: To create OwnerConnection Web site to improve service and collect customer data by letting owners manage their own warranty service.
  • Fate: Worries over privacy leaks doomed the effort.
  • New e-strategy: Net-enabled factory systems to cut service costs, track defects and fix them—before cars leave the plant.
  • Payoff: Quality improved 13 percent in 2002; recall alerts now based on eight problem reports vs. 60 before.


  • Old e-strategy: To save $750 billion industrywide and earn $3 billion annually in exchange fees by co-launching the Covisint B2B to reap better price and parts deals from 30,000 vendors.
  • Fate: Squabbling among GM, Ford, DaimlerChrysler, Renault and Nissan over security leaks and other issues limited use and savings.
  • New strategy: Covisint’s new computer messaging service will let OEMs and suppliers communicate more easily, securely and effectively.
  • Payoff: Pending


  • Old e-strategy: To team with Yahoo! CarPoint, iVillage and to monitor the car-buying patterns of Web-surfers.
  • Fate: ConsumerConnect effort was downsized and absorbed into Ford’s traditional marketing group; OwnerConnect effort refocused on data-

  • New goal: Develop a Ford-only customer data center from 50 million customer records and let all Ford businesses use it.
  • Payoff: Pending

    Wired Workers

  • Old e-strategy: To offer all 350,000 employees a computer, printer and Net access for $5 a month to allow factory-floor adoption of new Net strategy.
  • Fate: Ford offered 158,000 employees the service but postponed further rollout, then scrapped the program to cut costs.
  • New goal: None
  • Payoff: Halting the program saves millions of dollars in hardware costs and service fees.
  • CIO Insight Staff
    CIO Insight Staff
    CIO Insight offers thought leadership and best practices in the IT security and management industry while providing expert recommendations on software solutions for IT leaders. It is the trusted resource for security professionals who need network monitoring technology and solutions to maintain regulatory compliance for their teams and organizations.

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