And it has an interesting idea to bring prices down.
If it strikes you that new cars keep getting more expensive, you're right. Just over a month ago, the average transaction price for new vehicles sold in America topped $34,000. And given some of the pricey vehicles it offers, you might think that Ford, for one, is perfectly happy with that. But it isn't, and it has a plan to counter the trend.
Speaking with Automotive News, Ford's often-unconventional chief executive Jim Hackett outlined his company's plan to get prices down, and keep them low. And it all comes down to an idea that he termed as "reductive design."
"I'm really optimistic that the paradigm of everything just getting more expensive is actually going to get disrupted - fairly soon, actually," said Hackett. "We're beginning to look at things that customers don't use at all."
That includes features like CD players and garage-door openers in the headliner – items that most drivers don't use, particularly as the mobile phones in their pockets (or mounted on the dashboard) gain more functionality. And as cars get more connected, the manufacturer can tell what gets used and what doesn't, and can cater its equipment list accordingly by leaving underutilized standard equipment out of their vehicles, thereby reducing prices.
It's an interesting change in direction of sorts for an automaker that offers the Ford GT – the most expensive vehicle ever offered by an American automaker – and overloaded pickup trucks like the F-450 Limited that can cost nearly $100k. On the other hand, this is also the same company that (for the time being) sells the Fiesta (still one of the cheapest cars on the market), the budget-friendly EcoSport crossover, and the perennial performance bargain that is the Mustang, and has long since divested itself from upscale brands like Volvo, Jaguar, Land Rover, and Aston Martin.