Ford will look to build more on its American heritage with its future European line-up, according to the firm’s European boss.
The company is the only mainstream American-owned manufacturer still operating in the European market, and European boss Stuart Rowley said that gave it a point of differentiation from rivals. Major rival GM quit the UK market after selling Vauxhall. US brand Jeep does sell vehicles in the UK, but it only has a limited range of off-roaders and is now part of the Dutch-based Italian-French Stellantis group.
Ford will also offer the latest plug-in hybrid version of the Explorer large SUV, which has long been one of its most popular US vehicles, in certain European markets.
Rowley added: “We launched the Ford Explorer [in select markets], and it’s selling well. It’s a different product; it’s not for everybody but there are consumers who love that.
“Ford is the only American brand in Europe now and that’s a unique position that we can build upon. A lot of people are attracted to some of those characteristics and only Ford can bring products like that to the market.”
Rowley also highlighted the success of the Ranger Raptor performance pick-up, saying: “Who would have thought that would resonate with European customers?”
Rowley noted that import tariffs mean products not built within the UK-EU tariff-free trade area would only be offered as niche products in Europe in the future. Another challenge is the potential impact of any new products on Ford’s European CO2 emissions targets, which is believed to be a key reason the company has insisted it has no plans to sell the Bronco off-roader in Europe. A plug-in hybrid version of that machine is under development and it is possible that, like the Explorer, that could be sold in Europe in small volumes.