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 has long had a bespoke UK and Europe line-up developed locally. Its product range has changed substantially in recent years, with the new Puma crossover now outselling the perennially best-selling Fiesta, and the firm recently announcing it was axing the Mondeo saloon.
“You’re seeing the Ford portfolio change in Europe as we make the shift and grow further in utilities [SUVs],” said Rowley during the FT Future of the Car conference. “Going forward we’ll have a more differentiated, more opinionated portfolio of passenger vehicles, that will all be electrified and we’ll build experiences around them.”
Rowley highlights the success of the Mustang, which Ford reintroduced to the UK market a decade ago, and which has now been expanded into a sub-brand encompassing the muscle car and the Mustang Mach-E electric SUV.
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.”