Currently reading: Ford to 'redesign' European business
Streamlined product range and more imports part of company's plan to improve profitability
Steve Cropley Autocar
News
2 mins read
10 January 2019

Ford will import a range of iconic new models, boost production of its strongest European-made cars and SUVs and improve or ditch its slowest-selling local lines as part of a comprehensive plan to improve its competitive position and profitability in Europe.

The plan, part of a £14bn global cost-cutting programme, is described as “decisive action to transform the Ford business” by Ford president Steven Armstrong.

It will include a range of measures to cut costs in areas such as purchasing, manufacturing and engineering, as well as to reduce “surplus labour”, for which union negotiations are just beginning. It is understood that the numbers of jobs affected will be in the thousands.

Opinion: is Ford finally taking action in Europe?

The plan’s two-pronged aim is to improve near-term profitability with the efficiency measures while working at top speed to offer a “more targeted” model range to match fast-improving competition. Every Ford model will include an electrified model, either mild, full or plug-in hybrid, or battery electric.

The company is also expected to announce further details of what it calls “a potential alliance” with the Volkswagen Group within days, perhaps at the Detroit auto show next week. Ford of Europe’s central aim, Armstrong says, is to deliver a pre-tax operating profit of 6% for the longer term as a way of building a sustainable business that currently employs 53,000 people across its 50 markets. Its unprofitable Russian joint venture, Ford Sollers, is under strategic review, says Armstrong, with a decision on its future likely in the second quarter.

Ford is establishing three business groups in Europe, for commercial vehicles (based in Dunton, Essex), for passenger cars (based in Cologne, Germany) and for an expanded range of imported models. The company wants to protect and enhance its leadership in commercials — potentially with help from Volkswagen — but insists that suggestions it will leave the passenger car market are wide of the mark.

It aims to build on 2018’s SUV sales record of 250,000 units set by Ecosport, Kuga and Edge, but is already advanced with plans to drop the slow-selling C-Max and Grand C-Max people carriers, currently made at Saarlouis in Germany. It has already announced that production of small automatic transmissions will cease this year at Bordeaux, France, and that its UK headquarters will move from its long-established Warley location to the Dunton technical centre.

Steven Armstrong believes importing more Ford-built vehicles provides “an important opportunity”. The American-made Mustang and Edge are likely to be joined by the newly announced Explorer and Europe will also be a target market for the new Mustang-inspired Mach One SUV, due in 2020. Armstrong believes Ford will soon have “a significantly stronger and more focused product line-up” capable of delivering sustainable profits.

READ MORE

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FM8 10 January 2019

In the UK market and to a

In the UK market and to a degree in Europe, Ford, like Vauxhall have been squeezed from the top by the premium brands and from the bottom by the likes of Hyundai/KIA. The same has happened to Renault, Citroen and Peugeot. Their complacency got them in the state their in.
manicm 10 January 2019

FM8 wrote:

FM8 wrote:

In the UK market and to a degree in Europe, Ford, like Vauxhall have been squeezed from the top by the premium brands and from the bottom by the likes of Hyundai/KIA. The same has happened to Renault, Citroen and Peugeot. Their complacency got them in the state their in.

Yes, as I commented, no-one in their right mind would buy any Ford SUV right now i.e. EcoSport, Kuga or Edge - all rubbish really.

manicm 10 January 2019

Well it’s ironic that all

Well it’s ironic that all three current SUVs i.e. the Ecospoort, Kuga and Edge are to varying degrees rather rubbish isn’t it? And in Australia and South Africa Kugas have literally been going up in flames.

Ford currently only produces two good passenger cars really, the Fiesta and Focus. 

Thekrankis 10 January 2019

Ford have been confused for a long time now.

They screwed up with their useless global car strategy.

Shoved Transit production off to Turkey and now produce unreliable vans.

Make cars no one wants - Mondeo , Edge, Ka anyone?

Make probably the worst modern car from any manufacturer - Ecosport.

Can’t get SUV’s right.

Focus and Fiesta still good but losing their edge in style.

If FORD don’t get a grip they will go the way of GM.

 

Jimbbobw1977 10 January 2019

Thekrankis wrote:

Thekrankis wrote:

They screwed up with their useless global car strategy.

Shoved Transit production off to Turkey and now produce unreliable vans.

Make cars no one wants - Mondeo , Edge, Ka anyone?

Make probably the worst modern car from any manufacturer - Ecosport.

Can’t get SUV’s right.

Focus and Fiesta still good but losing their edge in style.

If FORD don’t get a grip they will go the way of GM.

 

I have a Mondeo now - got one as I had a Focus before that was a brilliant car to be honest. The Mondeo has been a great car as well, it doesn’t sell, like the Insignia etc as it operates in a stale market these days.. 

Thekrankis 10 January 2019

Agree

I have had a few Mondeos. Excellent cars but you could see them getting bigger and bigger and more expensive with each generation.

Ford was trying to kid themselves they could sell the Mondeo against the Germans.

 

They cannot.