Mulally is credited with turning around Ford while avoiding the federal bailouts needed to save its crosstown rivals General Motors Co and Chrysler Group LLC in 2009. Under his "One Ford" strategy, Ford has adopted global platforms that allow the company to achieve economies of scale.
"The structure of the business, particularly here in North America, has improved so dramatically that we could make money on just about everything in the lineup," Shanks said.
Ford is now adopting a similar turnaround strategy in Europe, where Ford expects to lose at least $3 billion in 2012 and 2013 combined, hurt by the economic slowdown and underused factories in the region.
Over the next three years, Ford will also expand its footprint in Asia in an attempt to avoid a possible over-reliance on North American operations, where its F-150 pickup truck has long been the top-selling vehicle.
The changes to the company are also reflected in the way it conducts business, executives said. As COO, Fields now runs Ford's weekly business review meetings that were once the purview of Mulally, who now sits to the right of Fields.
"Most of the leadership team was deeply involved in what happened in North America," Joe Hinrichs, who leads Ford's North and South American operations, said. "So we have a strong motivation to not allow that type of thing to repeat itself." Analysts, on average, project the automaker to post an annual profit of $1.34 per share in 2012, with earnings rising in 2013, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. On Monday, Ford showcased a concept version of its Lincoln MKC compact crossover designed to attract a younger buyer to the brand, whose buyers tend to be around 65 years old. The MKC targets one of the fastest-growing auto segments in both the U.S. and Chinese auto markets.