Special Coverage

Auto Show

GENEVA – Having sold off its Aston Martin and Jaguar brands – with a deal pending to unload Volvo Car – Ford Motor Co. appears weak in the luxury segment at the auto show here.

Rubbing salt in the wound is General Motors Co., which is relaunching the Cadillac brand in Europe.

One might expect Ford to have big plans to re-enter Europe’s fierce luxury market.

Not so, J Mays, Ford’s group vice president-design and chief creative officer, tells Ward’s on the sidelines at the auto show here.

Mays says Ford is well-positioned with its current European product offerings, and there is no plan to introduce the Lincoln or Mercury brands.

“We actually have slightly more upscale content in the Ford of Europe products than we have in the U.S. now, because we have Mercury and Lincoln in the U.S.,” Mays says.

“Ford products here in Europe can have more expensive interiors, more expensive content in terms of LED or halogen headlamps; those kinds of things,” he says. “They will probably always be a half-step above what we can afford to sell in the U.S., probably because the market demands it more over here.”

Mays sees no need to react to GM’s decision to relaunch Cadillac. “Not our strategy,” he says. “Good luck to them.”

Ford of Europe offers upscale “titanium” versions of a number of vehicles, and Mays says the auto maker is surprised to find the take rate for those products to be higher than anticipated.

“That’s really good news,” he says. “It says people who buy the Ford Blue Oval are prepared to pay a higher dollar than many people would probably imagine.”