What is in this article?:
- Ford: European Recovery Plan on Track
- Pricing Environment Tough
The automaker reports first-half sales rose 6.6% in Europe to reach 605,400 vehicles, marking the company’s best performance for the period since 2011. The result slightly outperformed the market, up 6.3%, keeping’s share at a level 7.9%.
Mondeo Vignale marks Ford of Europe’s move upmarket.
DEARBORN, MI – Economic uncertainty looms, but’s top official in Europe believes the automaker has the product, production plans and improving pricing power to keep its recovery going.
“Products, brand and cost are all delivering, in some cases better than what we thought they would do,” Stephen Odell, executive vice president-Europe, Middle East and Africa, tells reporters here in a roundtable discussion about the state of’s business in the regions. “We’re very much on track.”
Today the automaker reports first-half sales rose 6.6% in Europe to reach 605,400 vehicles, marking the company’s best performance for the period since 2011. The result slightly outrun the market, up 6.3%, keeping Ford’s share at a level 7.9%.
The period was capped by a 2% gain in June to more than 109,000 units.
Odell says Ford’s planned product barrage – 25 new products will roll out in the next five years – should help maintain momentum.
“And these are substantial launches, not minor launches,” he says. “That’s 25 major programs.”
The list includes the European debut of the U.S.-built Mustang muscle car and Canadian-assembled Edge CUV both joining the lineup next year. Also set for launch is a redesigned Focus – including a diesel model as part of the performance ST line – that goes into production in the fourth quarter. A new Mondeo sedan will begin output in Valencia, Spain, late in the year.
More than 52% of Ford’s first-half 2014 sales were of new or significantly refreshed vehicles, the automaker says.
In addition, Odell believes Ford will have its production capacity better aligned by year’s end, when output ceases at the Genk, Belgium, plant. Counting previous post-recession moves, including a shutdown of its U.K. assembly operation in Southampton and stamping and tooling facilities in Dagenham, Ford will have taken 350,000 units out of its production capacity, equivalent to 18% of its total.
Odell declines to comment on Ford’s targets for capacity utilization, which reportedly will reach 80% with the closing of Genk, but says, “We’ve taken our capacity to a level where we believe we can have sustainable profitability.”