Ford announces overhaul of European business: unprofitable models will be cut; greater focus on crossovers and SUVs; several hundred jobs could go
3 February 2016

Ford will reduce the size of its workforce and axe some less-profitable models in its range, as the company strives to increase its profitability in Europe.

As part of a major Ford of Europe overhaul announced today, the company said it would introduce a "voluntary separation" programme, which would allow workers to leave the company at their own behest. The move is expected to save $200 million (about £138m) annually, and is designed to give Ford “industry beating levels of efficiency”.

The Blue Oval also announced that it would be “eliminating less profitable models” from its product range. Among those models is the current Ka, which is due to end production this year. An all-new Ka is planned for 2019, and the model has already been spotted testing, but Autocar understands the new model will be significantly different to today's car, and will increase in size.

In the future, the Ford statement said it will put a greater emphasis on SUVs and crossovers, a strategy that was first announced last September. The Ford Ecosport, Edge and Kuga models will be joined by two new crossovers, which Autocar understands will be based on the Fiesta and Focus.

Ford said it wants to improve its European profits in 2016 and grow its operating margin. The company said its European strategy calls for a “more streamlined and profitable product line; more emotional and experimental brand communications; and a leaner cost structure to lower break-even and help offset growing regulatory costs.”

Announcing the plan today, Ford’s European boss Jim Farley said: “In the past three years, Ford of Europe has improved its business in all areas and moved from deep losses to a $259 million (about £178m) profit in 2015. This is a good first step.”

“We are absolutely committed to accelerating our transformation, taking the necessary actions to create a vibrant business that’s solidly profitable in both good times and down cycles. Our job is to make our vehicles as efficiently as possible, spending every dollar in a way that serves customers’ needs and desires, and creating a truly sustainable, customer-focused business.”

The company says it will launch seven new or refreshed vehicles in 2016, including the new Focus RS performance hatchback already driven by Autocar. It will also expand its hybrid and electric offerings in Europe. A new version of the Focus Electric is already known to be in development, and, in total, Ford will add 13 new electric vehicles to its range by 2020, as well as providing electrified versions of 40% of its model range.

Another area of growth will be all-wheel drive. The firm currently offers eight models with all-wheel drive and expects to sell around 140,000 AWD vehicles in Europe this year.

Ford will also expand its current super-luxury ‘Vignale’ line-up, which currently consists of only one model, the Mondeo Vignale - to include five models by 2017.

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Comments
25

3 February 2016

We can say goodbye to interesting products like ST and RS variants as bean counters don't know how to quantify the intangible impact on brand. Ford is about to get a whole lot more boring.

3 February 2016

I've been in an Ecosport and a Kuga, the former is Crap and the latter is beaten by the equivalent model from the majority of other brands, I have a feeling the Edge will be blunt too. Regarding "Ford will add 13 new electric vehicles to its range by 2020, as well as providing electrified versions of 40% of its model range" they're in lala land, they are so far behind on the plug-in front they're too ashamed to bring in what they have got.

 

Hydrogen cars just went POP

3 February 2016

In my humble opinion you are talking absolute codswallop! I have a sneaky feeling you are a fully paid up member of a failing company that would rather bad talk Ford than to up your game. No equivalent models are better than the Fords in terms of styling and interior, yes they could do with some tweaks here and there but they are still some of the best cars for the money- it is just snobbery by most folks who are besides themselves to want to like a Ford. Look at the Hyundais and
Kias they are channelling the Ford designs.

3 February 2016

You talking to me? That's funny as Last week I praised the fiesta when ford announced that they were pulling out of Japan, some joker said fiestas were unreliable, boy did I get flamed for defending Ford. I was accused of working for Ford which gives your comments a sense of irony. We're all untitled to an opinion and if I think and write the Ecosport is crap please don't accuse me of being a Ford hater, If you think otherwise about the Ecosport, fine.

 

Hydrogen cars just went POP

3 February 2016

I once wrote in this magazine that Ford cars were crap and that no turbo charged car should ever have have had rear drum brakes...it seems the younger generation are about to find out what fords were like in the 80's and 90's, ford should also remember what nearly happened to them in the early 90's once folk had sampled french and german cars, it was only the threat of extinction which drove them on to produce a decent vehicles in the first place.

3 February 2016

Use of poor vocabulary to make a point smacks of an ignoramus! If it weren't for Ford the likes of you would be paying through your teeth for ordinary German bland fest like the Golf and Polo, because the German know simpletons like like would pay over the top prices for their products all in the name of "German"badge!
Any engineer worth their salt would tell you that the Fords of today are far superior in terms of dynamics compared to any rivals- you mentioned the French?? I owned many Renaults and a few peugeots, but while I like the Pugs, they weren't as durable as the Fords nor was the Renaults which lit up their dashboards like Christmas trees, in the end I just ignored the forever warning lights and drove the cars regardless. Finally it is ignorami like you who are responsible for the decimation of the British car industry! Where were the French and Germans when we needed jobs in the 70s 80s and 90s??? Ford had always been in the UK giving jobs to our compatriots, but like you the ungrateful so and sos bought German and Japanese and French cars, no British nor Fords, and the stupid thing about it is the likes of you moan about quality? Well ignoramus these were built by British workers, I imagine lazy folks like you who took the money and buy foreign! We would never learn!

3 February 2016

The Ford Ka exists elsewhere in the world as a budget 5 door hatch, similar to an entry level Hyundai or Kia. The European model is a bit of an anomaly in that respect and I wouldn't be surprised if it is killed off. Ford itself seemed to lose interest in it years ago.

3 February 2016

All makes sense if they can get away with it. This maybe indicates that by building up the Vignale line, Ford Europe will be more aligned to Lincoln with Vignale models being, in effect, European versions of MKZ, MKC and MKX. Then the lesser European Fords are almost entirely aligned with their USA Ford counterparts.

3 February 2016

The article states: "The Ford Ecosport, Edge and Kuga models will be joined by two new crossovers, which Autocar understands will be based on the Fiesta and Focus."

Isn't the Ecosport already on the Fiesta architecture? With the Kuga using Focus underpinnings? And completing the small medium large crossover / suv family is the Edge running on Mondeo foundation.

Or am I missing something?

3 February 2016

Common knowledge thyat the Kuga is based on the Focus, goodness knows what they mean.probably three wheelers !!!!

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