A Faster Horse (2015) Movie Script

This is our design
development department here,
where basically the mustang's
been designed since 50 years.
Not many people have access
to this room
so you're very privileged to
see where magic is happening.
You can imagine every single
designer in this building
wants to be part of the story.
The designers now
can sketch on the computer,
but I think that some
of the creativity is lost.
I think a sculpture
adds a lot of ideas
that you don't do
with a computer.
That's one cost that's
held through design.
We never left Clay models.
There's nothing like getting
a three-dimensional product
that you can take outside,
put it in the sun,
spin it around on a turntable,
and look at it.
You cannot evaluate
just looking
at a two-dimensional screen.
You gotta have to have
the experience
walking around the Clay
and touching it
and feeling it
with your hands actually.
All these lines,
they have to know each other.
You can see right through
the middle
where you have
the horizontal lines
which are giving the length
and strength to the car.
And then the haunches
is ready to pounce
as it dives down and actually
points to the wheels.
So the entire power
is right there
where he's touching it.
The designer puts
emotion into a car.
He puts life into it.
This is what people
are looking for.
This is what gets them excited.
It's that magic.
It's that ingredient x,
the thing that turns it on,
that gives it that spark
that makes people say,
"I've got to have that."
A car is really rolling art
when you get right down to it.
The very first mustang
was designed in this room.
It's basically the spirit
of mustang looking over
every designer,
so make sure
that we don't screw up
the next model.
Designing a good-looking car
is absolutely easy as pie.
Designing a car
that the company can afford,
the manufacturing guys
can assemble,
the engineers can engineer,
that's damn difficult.
It's a creation
just as art is a creation.
Each new car,
you're going
where no one's
gone before,
and you're talking about,
you know,
hundreds of millions of dollars
and even billions of dollars.
Every day in the life
of a program,
you're living on the edge
of the cliff.
Welcome back now to Detroit.
The fourth largest city in
the U.S. filed for bankruptcy
Thursday afternoon
after struggling
with an $18 billion debt.
Everything is a huge risk.
We've had several brushes
with death.
Those other companies
didn't purposely
go out of business,
but it happens.
Every little detail
can be a big, big decision.
In the end, the person who
should be making those calls
is the chief program engineer.
I'm gonna show
you the file here
tracking all the way.
As the chief engineer,
you're accountable
for every success and every
failure on this program.
If I remember,
it's like 71 pounds.
- 70 pounds heavier?
- Yes.
- Guys.
- It's a stand-and-deliver job.
I'm just saying the scope
of the program does not align
with what we're trying to do.
We're spending most
of the money on this program
is being spent
for fuel economy,
and yet we're adding 70 pounds
of weight to the car.
That's like--
that doesn't even make sense.
Mustang is--
i always describe it
as the vehicle that everyone in
the company aspires to work on.
From the design team,
to marketing,
there are literally thousands
of people in the company
At the end of the day,
maybe only 30 of those people
actually work
for the chief engineer.
The nature of the job is you're
accountable for everything,
but you don't control directly
any of the resources.
It really comes down
to getting people
who don't report to you
to do what you need them to do.
It's the ultimate definition
of being a leader.
Before we even talk
weight buys,
we better talk
weight efficiency
of all the actions that
we're taking
because we're not gonna
throw more money in this car
just to offset an inefficient
addition to the program.
That we're not gonna do.
You cannot settle
for the wrong answer.
You cannot be second-best.
It's a very,
very difficult job.
Do I feel pressure?
As chief engineer,
you have a ton of pressure,
but it's good and bad, right?
We have a huge responsibility
to keep mustang going
in the direction
that it needs to go
and yet at the same time never
forgetting where we came from.
I do have decision-making tools.
We have an 8 ball,
and this is a--
the 8 ball that you'd find
in any store.
This-- actually,
we refer to this a lot.
It has guided us
along the way.
The other decision-making
tools we have
are persuasive tools
like bats and hammers
and things like that
that we, you know,
when we want something
to make sure
that they understand
that we're being serious.
You spend 12 to 14 hours
a day together.
If we can't have fun
and if we can't sort of laugh
about things every once
in a while,
then it's gonna get pretty
boring and you're not gonna get
the best out of people,
so we try to keep it alive.
So yeah, we use some of these
tools of decision-making.
that's a good question.
We're still starting
with initial sketches
that the designers do.
I don't think that process
has changed much
since day one in cars.
From the sketch,
they make a Clay model.
Then, we release that Clay
to the engineers.
We need to engineer the car
to work around
the appearance first
just trying to get
the pieces to fit.
A thousand details
that are behind every tiny,
little thing you see,
that is what makes a great car.
Every single part
of the car is new,
2,000-plus parts that
have to be designed,
tested, and assembled.
Like real textures,
wheel covers...
- Door handles...
- Engines, wheel base...
- Rear view mirror.
- ...Plates...
All those things have
to be designed in that product.
And remember, you have to make
these cars in their thousands.
It's really complicated,
making sure
that we design the vehicle
so that the people
who have to put the car together
can do it easily.
If you said to me,
the most important thing
your great-grandfather
Henry Ford ever did?"
I would say to you
the movie "assembly line."
That's what really took
the car business
from a cottage industry
to what we are today.
There are tremendous changes
being made in the technology.
What hasn't changed
is the process.
What we call the job 1 day,
it's really the finish line
for the whole team
and that's when
the 2015 mustang launches.
Job 1 is mass production.
It's really a culmination of
how everything comes together.
Because as you can imagine,
being a chief engineer,
when you start
shipping vehicles,
that's probably the biggest
moment of your career.
When the first set of customers
get in the car,
the goal that I set out
several years ago
will have been achieved.
But job 1 for us is--
that's when the car's
gonna start shipping out
on trains and on car carriers,
and they're gonna go to real
people in people's driveways,
and that's what job 1
really is.
Now that's the most expensive
way to solve an issue.
What I wanna work through
the next couple days
is the more efficient way
of solving the issue, right?
All right.
And chief made the night
schedule last night
before the director called,
unless you changed your schedule.
- No, no, no, that's fine.
- The answer was open.
I have to pick up the kids
tonight so I will be available,
I just have to get mobile
at some point.
So anyway, I will join you
for a little bit.
- You're coming to see me?
- For a few minutes.
Morning, morning, morning.
Don't give me that look.
Morning, everybody.
So okay up in this
a-pillar joint here.
- Yeah?
- There's an air leak.
Through here,
there's a water leak
and then we had the squeak
up here at the top
of the Cal-top
to the a pillar.
Other than that, this was the
best joint we've ever designed.
You know, you guys are freaking all
these people out with the cameras.
Seriously, they--
they are, like, just beyond.
We're just gonna go
for a walk.
I'll wait for you.
Are they down?
When did that happen?
Um, he said we had
a part shortage.
The plant is down.
They're not producing today.
We don't have parts.
We can't build cars.
So it's a big deal.
If you think about it,
not only do we have to pay
the employees
and they're not producing cars,
but we're losing
the production of those cars,
which in this plant
is, you know--
mustangs alone,
it's well over 300 cars
that are being lost today
plus the fusion.
And so that's--
the numbers are huge.
So it's not something
you like to see.
The auto business is a
really asset-intensive business.
You can't build a car if you're
missing one fastener, right?
It could be something
as simple as a five-cent part.
To do a car program,
you literally--
you invest a billion dollars.
If you're not successful,
you can lose money
very quickly,
and there's a lot
of people's jobs at stake,
you know, people's livelihoods.
And in an assembly plant,
we employ, you know,
900 to 1,000 people
on one shift,
and that's just Ford.
If you think about
the supply base,
it's a multiplier
of seven or so.
It's-- you know, it's not
something to be taken lightly.
This is a tough business.
I mean, look, we're the first
city to declare bankruptcy.
There's a lot of pressure
on those guys
because they have
to get it right.
Well, I think
that this car means a lot
to the automotive industry
and I think that it's a sense
of pride for everybody
in the Detroit area, you know?
Whether you're gm or Chrysler,
it doesn't matter.
American car companies wanna
see the American cars do well.
If you go down
to downtown Detroit,
you see the Joe Louis fist.
When we start the design
process, we'll pick images,
non-automotive related,
to really provide
the designers
with the inspiration.
For the 2015 car, it was this
fist punching through the air.
My sketch has this
very strong feature,
a strong chin,
i wanna call it.
It has like the
very masculine face
and eyes which are
very fearless as well.
We really wanted
that very strong look,
not only conveying power,
but very much
a salt-of-the-earth,
not trying to be something
that it's not.
That was the imagery
we wanted for the mustang,
and it's very much
a Detroit thing.
You know,
i think it's not just the car.
I think it's what
the car represents.
It's that feeling that you
can be what you want to be.
You can create yourself.
And that resonated the '60s,
and it continues to resonate
all around the world.
Growing up in Europe
and having this little,
small four-cylinder engines
and you all of a sudden,
see this American v8,
which sounds amazing,
like a lion.
I had posters I remember
of the mustang on my wall.
You can go to Thailand,
and they know
what a mustang is.
You can go to Russia.
They want a mustang.
As a kid who grew up overseas,
the thing that stood out for me
was seeing my first mustang when
i was growing up in Vietnam,
a 1970 super boss mustang.
It was part of
an army promotional tour.
It symbolized everything
that was special about America.
Living in Vietnam,
that's what you envisioned.
The soldiers were big
and strong,
and this car just
embodied those things.
Strength, power, freedom.
You envisioned this car running
at high speeds
in wide-open spaces,
and that was a pretty powerful
image as a kid to see.
You know, my aspirations
living in Vietnam
was to someday own a car.
That was a dream.
It was beyond
my wildest dreams to think
that you could come to
not only live in the U.S.,
go through
the public school system
but then be in charge
of this iconic product.
If you wanna call
that the American dream,
if that's not it,
i don't know what is, you know?
When you're 16 years old,
first sign of freedom
is you go out,
you get your driver's license,
and you get a car, okay,
and that's a freedom
that stays with you
until somebody says
you can't drive anymore.
I think you either
have a passion for driving
or it's just
a utilitarian thing
that you got to do to get
from point a to point b.
Wilson pickett:
I've loved the mustang
ever since I was a kid.
I had a fella on my street that owned a
1965 mustang fastback, fire-engine orange.
And if I even heard him
start the car,
I had to run out there
just to listen to it.
I'm driving a '68 coupe.
I own a 1990 saleen mustang.
1970 mach 1 mustang.
I actually have an album
with pictures of all of my cars.
My '641/2.
My '68. '89 mustang gt.
is a subjective decision.
King cobra 1978.
If you're really logical,
you would never buy a mustang.
I could show you lots more.
It's an emotional decision.
Everybody has a mustang story.
You don't have to own one
to have one.
You know somebody
that had a mustang.
You know a story.
Maybe it was that guy
in high school.
Maybe it was your
sister-in-law's cousin.
Who knows?
Thousands of people
on five continents
spend all of their time,
money and energy
supporting this car.
They've become a social network
around mustang.
There's nothing like it.
My job is to have
a connection with fans.
I'm basically the liaison
between Ford motor company
and all the clubs.
You don't have to get, like,
a focus group, like,
"who is the customer?"
It's me.
I'm dealing
with my friends and me.
So communication isn't
you're just yelling out
your news to someone.
Hey listen,
do you hear something?
It's my mustang clock.
Every hour I'm reminded
of another mustang
and another generation
passing me by.
Of course, it drives the guy
at the call center crazy
when cars go by.
The car only exists
in some very rough prototypes,
when I say it exists,
it exists
from a chassis standpoint.
We've taken
the existing mustang,
and we have cobbled it up
and bolted on
all of the new bits and pieces
to make it drive.
That's the only form
that exists.
Nothing real about it.
It's still just a model.
Tom Barnes, he is the leader
from the engineering team.
They're the ones that make
all of the thoughts
and then the sketches,
and the dream and the vision
actually come to reality.
Whatever that car's
gonna drive like,
sound like,
how quick is it,
all that stuff
will come through tom.
If you think
of the mustang as a company,
Dave pericak as
the chief engineer is the ceo,
and tom Barnes
is his chief technical officer.
He's got the lead on all
the technical issues.
Where Dave is more
the captain of the ship,
tom is, I don't know...
Data doesn't show what you'd
feel, which is very odd.
People have been working
on this car for 55 years.
We're just a slice in time.
Nine million people
have bought this car,
so the design people do
what they need to do.
We engineer the car to work
around the awesome looks.
I always like
the creative tension
between the design studio
and the engineering teams.
If you're not frustrated
with the design community,
you probably have
a boring design
because to engineer
a really good design
is a lot harder
than to engineer a box.
You hear a car start
and then you can hear this
and you know-- you're like,
"that's a mustang."
You can tell.
You can hear it.
You hear a car pull away--
and you're like,
"there's a mustang."
We must have
50 different exhausts
that we go through
and we've tuned
to make it sound right.
Engineers can follow
the development of a car
day by day,
almost hour by hour.
When any changes are made,
they instantly have
that information so they
can work out the feasibility.
Most of the time,
it's very, very cool.
Sometimes it can be,
you know, frustrating.
You need to hit certain
timing constraints,
and I always feel like--
try not to look at constraints
and just look where the goal is
and figure out
how to get to the goal.
You want to engineer smart
and you wanna engineer on time.
There are times at night
that that's a lot of pressure.
You don't want to be the guy
who gets to stand up
when we get to job 1
and say to the vice president,
"not quite done yet."
I don't even know how
I'm gonna do that, Brent.
When the decisions
come to Dave,
it's usually,
"here is the cost,"
and-or the trade-offs.
There is no more money.
It is a one-in,
one-out game now.
What keeps him up at night
is the same thing that used
to keep me up at night at this
same point in time,
which is, "what are the things
i don't know?
Because the things I don't know
are gonna hurt me."
I don't know, I mean, I don't
know what to do with this.
Or I don't know
how to escalate.
Don't misunderstand
what we're saying.
The steering wheel does not buzz
nearly as much as it used to,
no doubt,
but it is still buzzing
and especially when
you're the driver,
you're feeling it in your hand,
and you're feeling it in your foot,
and those two together,
you're feeling
a whole lot of vibration.
You need to think ahead
of all those potential things
that could go wrong
and there's a thousand--
more than a thousand of them.
- So you can hear a little bit
of latchiness, right? - Yeah.
They filled that
with a softer rubber.
A lot of what
i end up doing and certainly
what Dave ends up doing is just
pushing, constant pushing--
what's next
and what's beyond?
Let's keep going.
Time lost is our enemy.
Once you get behind,
you never catch up.
Candidly, if we're gonna
have this car out in fall
that means we have to start
building it right now.
That means we
have to be finished
engineering it last month.
When he got the job,
i had, actually,
a discussion with him
about this particular point.
The first thing I noticed was
so many people came up to me
and said,
"don't screw this up."
I mean, high in the company,
low in the company, dealers,
friends of mine
outside the company.
A lot of people just said,
"don't screw this up.
You screw this up, you're
screwing up the entire country.
This is bigger than Ford
so don't screw it up."
We are out
to strengthen our position
in a field where
the risk is high
and where the competition
runs strong.
Our mutual stake
in success is a big one,
perhaps the biggest
any of us will ever have
in a single venture.
I'm Henry Ford ii.
I would like to begin
these brief comments
by offering a Sincere welcome
to all of you
who have joined us,
and we look forward
to a long and mutually
rewarding association
based on friendship,
and sound business principles.
Henry Ford
was an interesting guy.
You gotta remember,
he came into the company,
you know, out of the Navy.
I think he was
like 26 or 27.
You seem to get a very nice
reception, Mr. Ford.
A lot more than I deserve,
I'm sure of that.
It would be hard
to be sure of yourself.
I mean, what the hell
do you know at 26 or 27
about running
a major automobile company?
Henry Ford ii was the apple
of Henry Ford i's eye.
I mean, he was his namesake
and the first grandchild
that Henry Ford had
and Henry Ford took him
Henry, did you know
your grandfather well?
Did you--
did you, uh--
well, I felt I knew him
very well, Bob.
We were always brought up
to go out on weekends
out at fairlane
with my grandmother
and grandfather,
and he used to give us,
the run of the place.
It was a difficult
process for him
because he didn't have
the background,
and I don't say that
He had never worked
in finance.
He never worked in engineering
or manufacturing or purchasing.
To his credit,
he was smart enough
to get people
in the company that did.
Ford was in trouble.
Gm and Chrysler
were better managed.
We brought in a group
of ten young army,
air force officers,
who became known
as the whiz kids.
They are the ten men in
the front row of this picture.
They included Tex Thornton,
Robert McNamara,
and arjay Miller as well.
It was such
an intriguing story.
Here was this tremendous company
in such bad shape.
When we went to Ford,
the whiz kids, back in '46,
to find out how much money they
owed at the end of the year,
they just counted
the open invoices,
but they were about 40 feet
of invoices
and they figured out
it was so many million
per foot of invoices.
That's how they knew
how much money they owed
at the end of the year.
It's hard to believe
how chaotic they were.
The whiz kids took control
of finances in the company,
and they got Mr. Ford
back on track.
The demand for automobiles
in the United States
has been rising
for more than three years
and shows no signs
of tapering off.
He felt he had inherited a company
it was his obligation
to keep it going.
We all liked Henry Ford ii.
He was a warm person.
He was the boss,
but the most important
building block
in the company
are the people.
Every company is faced
by the same market,
the same technology.
It's the people
that make the difference.
Henry Ford ii understood that.
He brought in Lee iacocca,
who was simply
the best car salesman
the world has ever known.
Probably the most
important thing to remember
about Lee iacocca is,
without him,
the whole story of the mustang--
that story would not even exist.
He joined Ford
as an engineer,
but he found very quickly
that he could do other things.
So in Philadelphia,
he started doing
Ford sales work
as a district-type person.
This is 1956,
and he contemplated a way
that the average person
could by a 1956 Ford
and pay $56 a month
as a payment.
So the "56 for 56" slogan
was popular.
It sold hundreds of thousands
of more fords
than they ever thought
they would sell.
Henry Ford ii recognized that,
and that's how
he got to dearborn.
For our customers,
for our loyalists,
the people who love
this machine,
the prototype is like, you know,
it's like almost the holy grail.
We're gonna do whatever it
takes to protect this vehicle.
So one of the things
we're doing is we--
this actually represents
a part of the new car,
a small portion
of the new car.
So we don't want anybody
to see this.
We put foam
and this material over this,
and that way when it's
out on the road
and someone wants
to photograph it,
they have no idea
what's going on.
They know there's
something going on in this area,
but they don't know
what's going on.
We'll end up having to do
a lot of nighttime testing
on fairly secure
Ford facilities
where we can peel all that back,
but we certainly don't want
anyone to see it
until it's time so...
- Right.
- Do you want to show this one?
Sure. Why not?
Let's do it.
The next, what I will say,
big milestone
is what we call
preliminary engineering cutoff.
We've basically
engineered the car,
and now we gotta drive them
and make sure
that they ride correctly,
they steer correctly,
there aren't
any kind of error states.
Everybody is trying to figure
out what the next guy is doing
because if they've got
the better gadget
or if they have
a better hood, unique wheel,
you name it, then they're
gonna want to have it, too.
And it's not about
who invents it first,
it's about
who gets it out first.
Barnes did not want to be the
first guy caught in a mustang.
It was fully camouflaged.
It was time,
so I made tom take the car
out to go evaluate something.
And he came back,
and as he tossed me the keys,
he said, "congratulations."
And I said, "what?"
He said, "you'll see me
on the Internet soon."
Yeah, there's tom.
- There's barnesie.
- He was so proud of that moment.
I was testing
out on the track.
It was all working,
but while it needs to function,
you can write down the numbers
and all that stuff,
a lot of what a car is,
I mean it's still needs
to have character.
Really the mustang in itself is,
you know, a character.
What would the world
be without a mustang?
It's hard to imagine.
Ford mustang.
People sing about it
not necessarily because
it rhymes with anything,
but because it's part
of our culture.
People will say,
"when I get in my mustang,
I feel like
I'm a different person.
I am Steve McQueen."
Ford wanted instant
street credibility.
How do you get
instant credibility?
You want to race in it.
The idea was you win on Sunday,
and you sell on Monday.
Mustang showed it
could be a race car,
I think principally
with carroll Shelby's help.
We've got a couple of new
entries in our stable this year,
the new mustang-based gt350,
first American car of its kind.
He just started putting
high-performance engines
in mustangs
and making them extra special.
It was a performance
vehicle that was accessible.
You know this
is not a 911 Porsche.
It's not a snooty.
That was the basic thing
that made this work,
the fact that you could bring
genuine aspiration
down to the affordable.
Little old you could have
something this neat.
Fast, fun and affordable,
that's the essence of mustang.
Dave was talking about,
the other day,
some people think you just
follow the recipe and then,
okay, then it pops out,
and it's really good.
That's not how that happens.
You know you have
this all-American classic,
but to be successful,
you have to
constantly innovate,
and there is always
a possibility of failure.
By failing,
i mean delivering a product
that would not be viewed
as a mustang.
In '94, mustang was gonna
go to front-wheel drive.
It was going to be transverse
v6 engine front-wheel drive
European sports sedan.
That is fundamental change.
There was one school of thought
that it would make it
more fuel-efficient,
we would get better return
then there was a camp that said,
"that's not what a mustang is."
When this news broke,
there was a massive
letter-writing campaign.
100,000 letters
from customers coming in
questioning the chemical
makeup of our brain.
They were convinced
we were on drugs, I think.
They actually
had a demonstration
outside of Ford
world headquarters.
the product was launched
as a separate product
called a probe,
and we stuck
with the tried-and-true
rear-wheel drive formula
for the mustang.
It's probably
one of the biggest coups ever
in the automotive industry.
The customers rising up
and changing your product?
I don't think
it's ever happened before.
It turned out to be
a great car, the '94 mustang.
I remember when it came out,
i was in high school.
Beautiful car.
Welcome back
to "muscle cars on the radio"
broadcasting coast to coast on
132 radio stations.
Joining us on the "muscle cars
on the radio" hotline,
Dave pericak,
chief nameplate engineer
for the 2015 mustang.
- Welcome back, Dave.
- Thanks, Gary.
Thanks for having me
on the show.
I love the fact that you kept
the sequential tail lights.
There are some things
you just can't change, Dave.
I tell you,
the sequential tail lamps,
at one time,
was discussed
on whether or not they
should stay in the car
purely from
a financial standpoint,
and that discussion,
you can see
who won the discussion.
As I basically told them,
"well, then you might need
a new chief engineer."
You also got rid
of the hockey-stick "l"
on the sides of the doors...
When he took the job,
i said, "Dave,
the best thing
about working on mustang
is everybody knows
what a mustang is.
The worst thing about working
on mustang is everybody knows
what a mustang is,
and they'll tell you."
Sometimes I wish that I was
on one of these committees
where they ask public opinion
because I'd rip
most of these cars.
A lot of people were afraid
it's gonna be a major
European look.
Some people are afraid
it's not gonna have
that old muscle-car image.
I just never pictured mustang
again with four cylinders.
Everyone wants to be
the chief engineer
and everyone wants
to design the car.
Photos have leaked
on the Internet.
I think those are just
Photoshop pictures
that are out there,
and my first reaction was,
"that really doesn't look
like a mustang."
I don't want them
to water it down.
Some of the other cars,
they look so similar.
But I guess it has to appeal
to more people now.
Our customers are not
afraid to tell us what they want
and why they want it.
I want it to look like
a mustang.
If you see the first one,
you'll say, "that's a mustang."
Well, I think everyone gets
emotional about the mustang
because number one,
most people have had
a passion for the car
when they were young
and when they were growing up,
whether it was within
their family,
their dad had one,
their brother had one,
that was the first car
they ever drove,
it was the first date
they'd ever had, you know.
I grew up in Chicago,
south suburb of Chicago.
As a little kid we'd always
take things apart
and try to figure out
how they worked
and put them back
together again,
which kind of freaked my mom out
a little bit,
but my dad thought
it was really cool.
So my brothers are about
ten years older than me,
and they were into cars
way before I even was.
The mustangs just always
caught my attention.
Not everybody
that's been in that job
really knows what a mustang is,
but Dave does.
When you talk to him,
you can see
he gets the emotional
connection in a very deep way.
I was a young engineer
here at Ford.
My boss had a '94 mustang.
He was going out of town,
and I asked him
if I could borrow his car.
He said,
"yeah, sure, no problem."
So I drove it to Chicago
and took my girlfriend
out on a date.
And I pulled up in front
of the high school
where we had met, in fact,
the very room that we had met.
I told her something was wrong
with the car,
and she didn't know
any different, and I got out,
and I opened up the door
and I knelt down
and asked her to marry me
in that mustang.
For me,
this is the dream job,
and I've said this to a vice
president in this company,
"you have me in this chair
for a reason.
While I'm in it,
I'm gonna do
all of the right things
for the mustang customer."
Joining us on the
"muscle cars on the radio"
hotline, Dave pericak,
chief nameplate engineer
for the 2015 mustang.
- Welcome back, Dave. - Thanks, Gary.
Thanks for having me on the show.
I think the greatest
pleasure that I experience
is a successful product.
To see people walk in and spend
their hard-earned money
buying our products is a great
thrill and great success.
Do you have to make
great sacrifices for it?
Well, in terms of time,
surely, yes.
It absorbs most
of your weekdays
and probably a good portion
of your weekends.
It's a consuming job,
let's say that.
Do you regret that at all?
I don't think so.
I picked the business,
and I'm here,
and I sort of like it.
Lee iacocca was no dummy.
He knew the timing was right
to take the American population
and introduce them
to something different.
In 1960, Lee was made
vice president
of the Ford division,
which is a huge move.
There was an air about him
that was a little mysterious.
I can remember watching
these guys escort him
around the various studios
and smoking his big cigar.
You know, it looked like
the mafia had arrived.
It was really pretty cool.
That is so
god damn basic to running...
He knew that his ideas
were good,
and he surrounded himself
with good, creative people.
One of those people
was hal sperlich.
Iacocca was a dynamic leader,
but the guy that made it happen
was hal sperlich.
Sometime in the early '60s,
what became the mustang
project got started.
My first introduction
to it was with don frey,
my boss,
who told me that iacocca
and the market research
people had identified
a rather dramatic shift
in demographics
that was going to take place,
the arrival of the baby boomers.
The market was untouched.
It was younger buyers.
There was nothing for them
to buy,
you know,
that they could afford.
Most innovation is
how to be ahead of the market,
you know, how to be ahead of
where demand is at the moment.
Iacocca, who was very much
interested in making a mark,
decided that that
would be his mark.
When 1960 happened,
when the decade started,
none of the auto manufacturers
in the United States
were building compact cars.
The big stodgy rolling tanks
and couches
that went down the highway,
that was the state
of production in those years.
"This is the way we build cars.
Take it or leave it."
Well, that changed.
The baby boomers said,
"we want something
that brings us
into the modern times."
They wanted
modern refrigerators,
they wanted modern furniture,
they wanted a modern house,
and they wanted a modern car.
Ford didn't have a car
that was a modern car,
and that's what they discovered
was this market.
Lee decided to have
the discussions off-campus.
To discuss a business
of great mutual interest.
They met after hours
at the fairlane inn
without Henry Ford's knowledge.
They knew if he got wind
of them, it would be canceled
simply because of the edsel.
The design of the future
is a great question.
I don't think the cars
can get any longer.
They're plenty long enough
and actually, I think,
they're really practically
as low as they're gonna get.
Henry Ford wanted
to reinvent the industry.
He wanted new technology,
something different
and fresh and exciting,
a car that hit
all of those parameters.
The birth of this new
line of automobiles
is a once-in-a-lifetime
The eyes of the American people
will be on edsel.
He came out with one of
the most well-researched cars
in the history of automobilia.
It was called the edsel.
And so I am proud
and pleased to confirm
that our new line of cars
will carry the name edsel
in honor of my father,
who served as president
of Ford motor company.
When you talk edsel today,
you talk of the flop
of all time.
- It didn't sell.
- I'm ruined!
The people that actually
worked on the edsel project
became known as e-guys,
and the e-guys
were bad guys
around Ford motor company.
Henry Ford didn't wanna
have anything to do with them.
Do you think people
will ever forget the edsel?
Oh, god, I hope so.
I used to always ask him,
"why did you let them call
the car edsel?"
He said it was the management
team that beat him down.
I mean, who knows?
I just think
that it's the wrong car
at the wrong time
with the wrong design.
It didn't work out,
and the company canned it.
That's a pretty
expensive process,
and it's embarrassing,
which is why people get nervous
about innovating.
He had to bear in mind
that the likes of iacocca
and others were putting
their careers on the line.
To be for something as unique
as the mustang project
was in its time
was a high-risk game.
We go out to one of our
proving grounds out in Arizona
and we drive the car.
That in itself
is an emotional event.
We had our senior
management out in Arizona.
We had a lot
of aspirational vehicles,
and I'm talking things
like Porsche 911,
and then we also had
our m1 prototype
for the upcoming mustang.
What we're gonna do - You'll each go in cars,
and Dave and frank
are gonna be in one pair,
then you'll flip.
This vehicle
had to be world-class.
We're gonna sell it in Europe.
You have to be world-class
to be in Europe.
You're going against
the big dogs
in those other markets,
so you set your targets
from an aspirational standpoint.
We had police cordon
off all the roads.
We went around the tops
of all the mountains around,
to make sure that there
wasn't anybody up there.
It was incredibly nerve-racking.
Nobody's seen--
we hadn't seen the car
out in the wild.
A beautiful car is great,
but if it doesn't exceed
the outgoing car,
people will be disappointed.
The toughest critic I know
is probably Dave.
He takes this stuff to heart.
The car is
definitely coming together.
It's just that it's a little
short on target on a few things.
But do we know why
or we just don't know why?
No, we have a very
good idea why.
We do wind tunnel tests,
rough road tests.
We do high-mileage drives,
low-mileage drives.
We do cold-weather drives.
We do warm-weather drives.
It's pretty difficult
to anticipate
where the next issue
is gonna come from.
- What was that?
- I don't know.
Because they come
from the left.
They come from the right.
They come from everywhere.
That's what happened.
It did fault. Okay.
Just got the camo off
just a couple days ago.
And so there were
some surprises.
The amount of camo
did some damping,
and so we have some things
that have popped up,
but we'll address them,
and we'll go through them.
We've got an entire team
of people
who support these tests
and drives.
Because we don't have a ton
of prototypes running around,
we try to do this
all analytically.
So we try to model what we
think the system is gonna do
because, really,
it's quite costly
to find the error state
in the vehicle
and then engineer it out.
We'd rather engineer
the fix in right the first time.
I will say it's surprising
how much the camo affected
the steering feel.
This is a live issue.
I mean, can at least
one of our open issues
for our engineering sign off?
Tom's the guy that
really brings it all together
and makes a proposal
to Dave to say,
"here's what it takes to get
to the next level."
Gotta give tom a lot of credit
for being the thread of mustang.
He's been on mustang
for ten years.
I always kid him
he's probably trained, you know,
at least five chief engineers.
Shit, man,
i rocketed down through here
about 160 miles an hour.
There is a police
officer on the right-hand shoulder.
So just be aware that the speed
limit is 55 through here.
I feel like this doesn't move
nearly as much as the other car.
Probably isn't,
and that gets into--
you remember all
the a-pillar stiffness we did?
- Yeah.
- Well, the a-pillar stiffness.
So that's why I'm trying
to get from body
and from nvh what is happening
for that sorb fix.
- It's on the torque box.
- Right.
It's down there, it's right
at the base frickin'--
and there's some massive shit
going on down there.
I flew out there
with the team
to one of our proving grounds
out in Arizona,
and we drive the car,
the gt version of the mustang,
I wasn't quite there.
It was great,
but it just wasn't great enough.
What is it
that we don't have?
- Here's the problem--
- is it the pads?
The team worked really hard
to get us to that point,
and I just, you know,
looked at the team
and said, "guys,
i don't think we're there."
I understand people are working. We just got
to make sure they got everything they need
and there's no hold-ups
and we can go as fast as we can.
I am a perfectionist.
I don't know that
anything is ever perfect,
you just keep trying
to get there,
and you never quite get there,
but along the way,
you just keep getting better.
Roy orbison:
How could you make a car
that was low-cost and exciting?
Not easy.
In fact, often when you see
a lower-priced car
really take off,
it's because somebody's
figured out
how to bring
the aspiration vehicle down
to a lower price,
and that was certainly
the inspiration
to create the mustang.
For some reason, it just wasn't
working very well.
Several studios
had a crack at it,
and it really wasn't coming
until iacocca decided
he wanted to have
a competition and give--
I think it was seven
design studios each a crack
using the exact same packet.
I figured if you're gonna make
a really inexpensive car,
we had to build it
from something inexpensive,
and Ford had the falcon,
probably the least expensive car
on the planet.
We decided to try to use it
as a base,
the proportions
and the stance and so forth,
and I was the cop to make sure
these guys didn't cheat.
I was at the Ford studio
when hal sperlich came in
and said, "iacocca wants
to see some new designs."
And we only had about
three weeks to do it.
So I went home,
sat at the kitchen table
and I sketched out four
or five quick sketches.
When I joined Ford,
they called me the farm boy.
I was working
with a bunch of guys
from New York and California.
They were doing airbrushed
drawings of beautiful cars,
and I thought,
"I'm in the wrong spot.
I can't compete
with these guys."
Came to the big showdown,
and there was iacocca
and myself and a few others
and, of course,
the fathers of each
of these seven cars,
and there were, like,
three or four
that were fantastic.
They picked my sketch
to be put on the driver's side
of the Clay.
Iacocca said,
"you know, this is the car."
I remember Lee turning,
and he said, "we got it."
So that was it.
When it was approved,
it was a cougar,
and the symbol
on the grill was a cat.
That didn't last very long.
Someplace along the line,
the marketing axis
under Lee's leadership
decided that the car
should be called a mustang,
not the cougar.
There's something
so uniquely American
in the word "mustang."
He knew it could be used
for marketing.
Iacocca knew that anything
that he would propose
to Henry Ford
was going to be a problem
because Henry
didn't want to launch
off into another
financial disaster.
The eyes of the American people
will be on edsel.
In the case of the mustang,
you're saying,
"we can sell
this large number of cars
in a market that will exist
once we bring this car out,"
but we couldn't say,
"here's proof this will work,"
'cause there wasn't any proof.
This came--
this came from the gut.
That time,
it took about $75 million
to get a car from concept
into production.
Lee brought Mr. Ford over.
You got to remember,
Ford motor company
wasn't a democracy.
It was a totalitarian state,
and Lee is just selling,
selling, selling.
That's his bag, right?
He's the great persuader.
Iacocca wanted $75 million,
and Henry Ford said,
"you got $45 million.
Go with it.
That's all you're getting,
not a dime more."
The program was approved,
and people filed out
of the room.
I was out there with iacocca,
and Mr. Ford came up.
He said, "okay,
you got your god damn car.
It better work."
Does it say what color?
It's right there.
Oh, that one.
They are good-looking,
Hi, Kelly.
What do you think
of the new car?
I hope so, too.
You're definitely
the minority at this moment.
We gotta have it grow on you.
We'll see you.
No, we love your opinions.
- You like it?
- You like it?
That's about the best mustang
I've ever seen in a long time!
Good deal.
Good deal. Thanks.
Pencils are down,
and there's no more
engineering work on this car.
It's pure execution phase
from here.
It's just making sure
that we get this thing
ready to go
into the showrooms.
We're in what we call our
manufacturing launch process.
- T minus 10, 9...
- We've completed all of our development.
Lift off.
Lift off.
And now we're going
into production.
We're literally
building prototype vehicles
on the assembly lines
to get
the manufacturing process
up and running.
And then once we have that,
we can go back to David
and the team and say,
"we have high confidence
that you can go ahead into full
production at full line speed."
Our program manager,
prakash patel,
he's got a tough job.
He's kind of like the guy that--
he makes sure
that everyone in the band
is playing on the right note
and that everybody plays
when they're supposed to play.
The program manager to a
team like this is so important
because they're the hammer.
I call them the hammer.
They have to keep
the vehicle on time.
A lot of things
have to come together,
not only at our plant
at flat rock,
but at every single supplier
site all around the world.
Everything on that car
has kind of a DNA.
Whether it's a part that
is manufactured at the plant,
whether it is a system
that comes into the plant,
for that particular car
needs to be there on that date,
that time.
It's mind-boggling how--
how they're able to do this.
At this point,
we have started the car.
We have designed the parts.
We have confirmed everything
in the virtual world,
and we said,
"this is where we are."
Every millimeter
was fought over,
every little millimeter
on the vehicle.
You can imagine we have
some very emotional discussions
about headlamps
and tail lamps and bumpers
and, you know, you name it.
You do feel the weight
on the shoulder,
but the weight
is that you have to deliver
what you said you wanted.
Hold on, if we had
this experience in s197,
why did we get them on s550?
Who told us to
give them more business?
We're not launching a vehicle
as much as we are launching
hundreds and hundreds
of supplier facilities
around the country.
We build our engines
and transmissions in-house,
but pretty much everything else
we purchase from our suppliers.
But why should I pay
tribal anything?
There's so many places where
the system could fall apart.
But why is not their fault?
If they're not delivering a quality part,
why is that not fault?
We actually go out
to our suppliers and help them.
We're only successful
if they're successful,
so we can't afford
to let them fail.
Okay, that's what I said.
So i-- that's what I said, if
they are going out of business
and if they are distressed,
let me know,
and I will figure out a way
to pay the 47,000 bucks, okay?
But at this point
in the program,
I cannot just spend
that kind of money just because.
You have to weigh it and say,
"we gotta spend the money
on this,
and we'll save it
someplace else."
Because everything that's good
isn't the cheapest.
Okay, who's next?
What's going on is that
on the--
when the rocker moldings
are going on,
they're not getting proper
hand clearance
between the rocker molding
and the wheel.
They physically cannot reach
their hand in there
to install the push pin.
It's almost every wheel,
this is a problem.
No way, guys.
Buck 34 a car?
Customer gets nothing for it.
There's gotta be
a better solution.
This is just the worst use
of our money.
When I started
in this industry,
I would go to changes like,
"why are you guys bickering
about six cents?
Here, here's six cents."
But you multiply that by years,
by number of cars,
it makes a big deal.
Take $1.34 times
hundred thousand cars
times five years, $1,
you just spent
half a million dollars.
Okay, next.
That is the decision
you just signed off.
As a representative
of Ford motor company,
you just said, "it is okay to
spend half a million dollars."
Big difference, a dollar
versus half a million dollars.
Are you guys sure
this is a must-fix, right?
Yeah. I signed it.
Four cents more, why?
Because a longer fastener?
That's for the fastener.
We'll go sort out the money.
Don't come back
for another change, okay?
We gotta get this thing done.
To an engineer--
and I'm an engineer--
if you give an engineer
enough time, money,
it can be done.
We can put a person
on the moon.
You just need a lot of time
and a lot of money.
You know, remember,
automotive industry's
over 100 years old now.
It's not like we are doing
a lot of stuff
that hasn't been done before.
A car is a car.
At it's most basic,
an automobile is automobile.
But to come out
with a winning product,
you have to make choices,
and the team that makes
the most correct choices
at the most
opportune time wins.
I was at
the 1964 world's fair.
They had all
the various pavilions,
but the one that caught
my eye was right in the front.
It was the Ford rotunda
and outside of it
was a mustang.
Me and my brother
sat in that line
for a long time while
everybody wandered around.
It was quite
a memorable thing for me.
It just hit me.
In April of '64,
when the car came out,
the same week,
made the cover
of both time and newsweek,
so there was an energy.
This was something big
in America.
Introducing the unexpected,
the new Ford mustang.
They booked time
on all three networks
so it was completely
blasted to the world.
People swamped the dealerships.
They actually
had to call police,
the crowds were so big.
In the first 18 months,
they sold a million
of these cars.
They could not build mustang
fast enough.
Iacocca was betting his career,
but he was betting in an area
in which he had
a unique skill.
He knew the market.
He was as good as they get.
Eventually, Lee became
President of the company.
He was the king.
Lee iacocca,
of the Ford motor company,
was fired by Henry Ford ii,
chairman of the board.
Publicly, they said
it was a disagreement
about the company's management.
Privately, by one report,
iacocca asked Ford why,
what he had done wrong?"
And Ford answered,
"i just don't like you."
I don't know if you know,
i was fired
along with iacocca
from the company.
So it's--
it was a dangerous place.
You know.
He came to work one day,
and everything was a normal day.
And when he left that afternoon,
he was fired.
It happened that fast.
On a personal basis,
i liked iacocca.
He was smart...
The energy,
sense of humor.
On the business side,
he had one big fault--
too large an ego.
He actually thought
that he could get the directors
to put him over Henry.
I learned about it,
and when I told Henry Ford
about it,
he fired iacocca.
Did that make him a dictator?
Well, that's the way
you run a company.
You can't run a company
if you're going to have
two guys competing
for the top job.
Get that cleared up right away.
You were asked a question
many, many times.
If you knew how bad it was,
would you have done it?
Nobody would do that in life.
If you knew--
if god let you know
what was coming next,
a lot of guys would go
and shoot themselves.
He don't let you know that,
thank god, okay?
So that's a silly question,
in a way.
Would you like to go
in the infantry for four years
and get shot at?
If I had a choice, no.
If I knew that, I wouldn't have
joined up in the war.
I know, but you don't know
how bad it's gonna be.
So, no, yeah.
That's destiny,
they call that.
Don't fight it.
Next time I'm gonna control
my destiny, though.
My job is not to yell
at people and make--
I'll do that if I need to,
but that's not my job.
My job is to be the biggest
cheerleader in the group.
It's funny,
i think people are more--
they're more than willing
to walk out on a limb,
even if they think
that limb might break,
if they know that you're
gonna be there to catch them.
And I think that's
the biggest thing.
I think that's the freedom.
As a leader,
what I try to do
is I try to give them
the freedom.
There's a lot
of smart people held back
by their own fears
or inhibitions.
And if you allow them to go
out on the edge,
hang out a little bit,
knowing that no matter
what happens,
you will catch them,
they will go out
on the thinnest branches
even though they think,
"that thing's gonna crack,"
they'll go because they know
you're gonna be there for them.
And when they start doing that,
when more and more people
start doing that, the power that
you unleash is unbelievable.
Because when everyone
stays reserved and,
"I'm not gonna do that because
i might fail,"
or, "i might get hurt,"
or whatever,
then the whole team
doesn't progress
as far forward as they could.
But when they're out there
slaying dragons
because they know
that if the dragon gets
a little unruly
that you're gonna come in
and finish him off,
they'll slay dragons
all day long for you, man.
You want to be interviewed?
Oh, yeah, man.
I'm the man.
What you wanna talk about?
2015 mustang.
- What do you think?
- I think it's an awesome car.
- You think it's an awesome car?
- I think it's gonna sell good
and it's gonna keep a lot
of people working here.
- It's a legend man. It's a legend.
- It is a legend.
And it gets better
and better over time.
That's the beauty of it.
Thank you for helping us
build it, man.
No problem. No problem.
You got me, right?
All right.
At the beginning of a program,
it's all hope and potential
and opportunity and stuff.
You know, frankly,
once you start a program,
95% of what you learn
is bad.
Of course, yeah.
By design, this edge has
to be parallel to this edge.
It is a tenuous time
in the program,
there's a lot that can
go wrong from here.
I thank you, the Ford motor
company thanks you.
He thanks you.
The shareholders
and stockholders thank you.
Bill Ford thanks you.
Thanks, guys.
All right, what else?
Often times,
you're defending the car.
You're fighting for the car,
and there are days when you
go home and you feel like,
"wow, nobody wants me
to be successful."
Was it deemed a failure
out of cae,
or was it something that,
as we looked at it, we thought,
"hey, it'd be nice to have
another mil or two of clearance?"
I mean, obviously,
the vehicle requirement is no contact
between the bracket
and the solenoid,
and what you guys showed
was a one-mil contact.
it was a failure.
It was a personal foul
of one mil.
The program's hanging
by a millimeter at the moment.
No, it's just that
we believe
that if we're showing contact
from the cae model,
we're likely to have
a fracture.
So I guess that's kind of
where we are.
You very rarely ever see
a repeat chief engineer.
You're either viewed
as being successful
and you get asked to go
do something bigger and better
or you get asked to go do
something different.
All right, so we've got
everybody lined up.
They'll re-mesh the file,
they'll get it rerun tonight.
The model will be done
by noon tomorrow, yes?
Having looked at the model,
and maybe I'm being
a wild-ass optimist here,
I think we're on the verge
of getting that.
I think we're right there.
At the end of the day,
we've got to have
zero major issues,
and like I said,
it's not done until we get
all the way up to job 1.
Dave's been a chief for,
you know, quite a while,
so in a lot of ways,
it's make or break sometimes.
But I mean, you just have
to live--
you just have to live
for the car that you're on.
I can be very
clear about that. No.
One year I counted
every bird that we had.
I just said,
"I'm gonna do it."
They're literally like
our friends.
I don't even fill
the back birdfeeder anymore
because you fill it up,
and an hour later,
squirrels will have
just devoured it,
thrown it all on the ground
and whatever.
Tom still fills the back one.
I don't.
Absolutely, squirrels deserve
every right they,
you know,
we can provide them.
I don't think he works
harder than the job needs.
There are times where i
wish there was a cutoff
where it would stop.
But a lot of times it doesn't.
It can't stop.
We say to each other,
"it is what it is."
You know, we've worked
on this 50th car since 2009.
It takes a long time.
You have to have endurance,
and you just have to keep...
So many things
are very simple,
but it's very hard
to make something special.
You know, I mean, you can
look at it different ways.
You could say,
"it's just a car,"
you know, whatever.
There's 60 million cars made
a year in the world now
and this is just, you know,
one out of probably 1,000
different varieties
you could buy.
Lots of people do it
and it should be pretty simple
and standard,
but it is very complicated,
and it has to be right.
It's so hard to explain
because it's so big.
We are here
for mustangs across America
for the 50th anniversary
of mustang,
and it's the second day
of the cross-country trip.
And we will be driving
to las cruces later, right?
- Is that how we say it?
- That is correct. Good job.
We restored this 1971 mustang
as a father-daughter project.
We started in 2010.
Took us about three,
three and a half years
to get it done,
and we actually just
finished it this week.
I am really envious
of all of you
getting to spend a week together
driving your favorite cars
across the U.S.,
and I expect to hear
all the stories in Charlotte.
- There you go. Square key.
- Yeah, I know.
Mustang's always gonna have
a special place in my heart
because it's the first
I've ever done with my dad.
It's my car.
It's my type of car.
Okay, where are we?
The shape it's in,
i think that is a success story.
When you're done,
it's kind of an odd feeling.
You certainly feel
a sense of satisfaction
of being on
a very long journey,
but that tension
is always there, you know,
is it gonna stand
the test of time?
Every new car that you do,
you go look
at a production car,
it's an emotion.
You saw her from the sketch,
and here it is in metal.
You can open the door.
You can sit in it.
You can drive it,
that's emotional.
It really is.
And if it isn't,
you've failed.
It's the time
for the big reveal,
the worldwide reveal.
The 2015 mustang!
Come on out!
I love this car.
It's beautiful.
As soon as it comes out, I'll be
first in line at the dealer.
2015 mustang.
Dave pericak is the chief
engineer for the mustang.
When you build a new car,
you got a lot of history
you have to honor.
What was the main thing
you wanted to do new...
It's modernized
that original 1964 mustang.
The shape of the front grille,
it's just like it was back then.
I like the shape,
especially the back lights.
It's just like my '66.
I want them to say
that they got it right,
that this is the best mustang
that they've ever done.
- This is awesome.
- It is. It is awesome.
Henry Ford was a firm
believer in several things--
and low cost.
He always professed
that if you could do
those three things,
you would win the hearts
of the customers.
Growing up in an era
where everybody had a horse,
he'd say to the people,
"what do you want?"
You know, and they'd always say,
"a faster horse."
He gave them
something different.
That's why mustang
is different.
They didn't ask
the marketplace,
"what do you want?"
They were car people,
and they said,
"what do we want?"
Whatever year
your favorite mustang is,
whatever color it is,
whatever's your favorite,
it will be there in Charlotte.
I think my
favorite aspect of this car
would have to be
how original we made it
and how original it is.
It looks like a mustang
that you would have seen
rolling around in 1971.
And I really, really like
that aspect of it.
If I could ask you all
to please rise
for our national anthem.
People forget...
That we are engineers,
but we are people,
and people make cars.
They build cars,
they design cars,
they develop cars,
they style cars.
So whether we like it or not,
people's personalities
are reflected
in what they do.
And no two people are alike.
It's a fraternity of people
who worked on this car.
That's what makes it special,
and certainly, for me,
it's a part of me.
Once you work on the mustang,
you're always part
of team mustang.
Somehow you are connected
to something that was exciting.
That connection's still there.
It's still a love affair
that happened way back when,
and people are
still knocked out by it
and still excited about it.
You know what I used
to use as a Gauge
on the cars that I worked on
is I would say to myself,
"would I like to wash this car?
Would I feel happy
out there washing it
and cleaning it
as a designer?"
And that was a goal
i personally had.
How many people like to
go out and wash their car?
Only if it's a favorite car
that they like
to drive or something.
If it's a car they don't
really like that much,
they don't wash it at all,