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Ford Consolidates Engineering Units

Ford Motor Co. said it is consolidating its vehicle engineering units from four to two in an attempt to cut costs and improve efficiency.

Ford currently has separate engineering units for large cars, small cars, trucks and sport utility vehicles.

Under the new system, one will focus on larger, body-on-frame vehicles such as pickups, SUVs and a few sedans like the Lincoln Town Car. The other will focus on smaller, unibody vehicles such as the Ford Focus and Ford Freestyle crossover.

Derrick Kuzak, group vice president of product development for the Americas, will continue to oversee the units. Kuzak, Ford’s former vice president of engineering for North America, recently replaced Phil Martens as group vice president, who resigned in October.

Paul Mascarenas, Ford’s vice president of North American vehicle programs, will replace Kuzak as vice president of engineering.

Ford spokesman Jon Harmon said the moves will improve efficiency. Harmon said the company will ultimately need fewer engineers after the consolidation, but he said that can be accomplished through attrition and not necessarily layoffs.

The move is the latest in a series of shake-ups and cost-cutting moves at the Dearborn-based automaker, which reported a third-quarter loss of $284 million. In September, Mark Fields was appointed executive vice president of Ford and president for the Americas, replacing Greg Smith, who had been on the job less than 18 months.

Ford Chairman and Chief Executive Bill Ford said last month he is working with Fields on a restructuring plan and would announce more details in January.

Ford Motor Co.: