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Top gun: Jim Baumbick is no stranger to the Australian-based Asia-Pacific product development operations, serving most recently as the global product planning boss and earlier working as engineering director for this region.

FORD Motor Company has restructured its global product planning and strategy operations, establishing 10 separate product line management teams as it aims to “better meet emerging customer needs, drive top-line growth and maximise returns”.

The new division will be overseen by Jim Baumbick, who retains his current responsibilities as head of global product planning but now becomes vice-president of the enterprise product line management (EPLM) organisation.

The EPLM teams bring together people with high-level experience in engineering, product planning, manufacturing, marketing and finance, pooling all this “cross-functional expertise” to come up with deeper customer and market insights that then feed directly into new-vehicle development and buyer/ownership experience programs.

The company says the teams will work closely with the product development organisation – including the Australian-based Ford Asia Pacific Product Development Centre – and global business units “to create a winning portfolio of vehicles and bring them to market faster and more efficiently”.

The 10 teams include various product streams that are relevant to the Australian R&D operations, including commercial vehicles, compact trucks, emerging market vehicles and urban SUVs, rugged SUVs and family SUVs.

Other specific teams include F-Series, performance vehicles, electric vehicles and luxury vehicles.

Mr Baumbick, 47, is a former engineering director for the Asia-Pacific and Africa region and played a key role in the development of the Aussie-bred Ranger utility.

He has also served as global chief engineer of unibody products, director of global product development system (GPDS) and quality, and vehicle line and platform director for Ford’s front-wheel-drive/all-wheel-drive architecture.

In his most recent role as executive director of global product planning and strategy, Mr Baumbick is credited with leading the development of the company’s flexible modular architecture approach.

He joined the Blue Oval brand as a college graduate in 1993 and has picked up various young leadership and excellence awards along the way.

In announcing the restructure and Mr Baumbick’s appointment, Ford Motor Co president of global markets Jim Farley said: “Our most successful franchises – from F-150 to Mustang to Transit – are anchored in an obsession for the customer, deep product expertise and an unyielding commitment to strong returns.

“By taking this approach, we can raise the bar across our product lines. Each team will have clear accountability for winning in the marketplace and delivering profitable growth.”

By Terry Martin