John Fleming, Vice President, Ford Motor Company, President and CEO, Ford Europe, Member of the Board of Directors, Ford Werke AG
Born in 1951 in Liverpool (England), married, has three children. He was awarded an honorary degree by the University of Liverpool John Moors and a diploma in the organization of production of the London Northeast Polytechnic Institute. He joined Ford in 1967 at the Halewood factory in Merseyside. In 1984, he was appointed production manager of the factory paint shop, and since 1991, general production manager. Since 1995 - manager for the operation of passenger car factories. He served as executive director of the Ford stamping division in the United States, and was responsible for organizing this area. Since April 2001, Vice President of Ford Europe Production. Since October 2005, he has been President of Ford Europe.
- Mr. Fleming! The issue that is of particular interest to us is related to the localization of the production of components for Russian “fords”. So far, there are clearly few domestic parts on Vsevolozhsk machines. Do you have any revolutionary suggestions for this situation?
- Well, at the moment, localization is estimated at about 30 percent, and by April next year, it should grow to 40 percent. We are attracting more and more foreign suppliers, so that they create their own production in Russia. We continue to work with Russian enterprises, encouraging them to supply us with a more complex product range than now. From these positions, we are also very pleased that other car manufacturers from abroad have come - we hope that together we will be able to change the situation with the manufacture of components in your regions.
- I heard that you want together with Volkswagen to produce a DSG gearbox and promote it at Ford …
“I'm sorry, but I don't know anything about that.” If we talk about the transmission, then we have a partner - the company "JC". It launches a plant in Slovakia and, possibly, will offer its products to other manufacturers.
- It is a pity that you do not have information about the DSG. That would be such good news … We know that Volkswagen is ready to announce the start of a very large project - the annual production of 200 thousand cars and components in Russia. Today, Ford is among the leaders in sales of its cars in Russia. It is curious how leaders react to similar intentions of competitors.
- We strive to maintain our dominant position, but we will only increase production until this allows us to remain a profitable enterprise.
- I would like to return to the issue of quality components. Currently, the basis for their production in Russia, in fact, has not yet been created. Is it possible here, say, the interaction of Ford with Volkswagen or Toyota?
- I can only repeat: until the last moment, our strategy here was determined. We worked with traditional European suppliers and convinced them to organize production in Russia. This is the basis for the idea of developing infrastructure for the production of Russian components.
- In April, the Russian government issued a decree, and in fact a program of duty-free import of components from abroad for "beginner" assembly plants with an annual volume exceeding 25 thousand units. Immediately, the Chinese and Koreans sharply intensified, both manufacturers and sellers. They had the opportunity to import their sets here duty free for three to four years. At the same time, we just touched on the topic of production localization. What is your point of view on these processes: is such a decision beneficial for Ford? And can this positively affect the development of local industries?
- So far we are working on the basis of previous agreements, which are valid until 2009. Ford signed an agreement with the Russian government. However, we are considering both business models. This law saves us an average of 3-4 percent of duties. Now we are trying to understand which model is more acceptable for Ford. I believe that within a year we will make a decision on this matter.