Ford CEO Jim Hackett says the major overhaul of its European business is a “good news story” that reflects the company’s commitment to the region.
The US firm is overhauling its European arm in a series of moves that will involve ditching slow-selling products, increasing production of its strongest European-made products and importing a range of new models. Job losses in the thousands are also expected.
The moves in Europe are part of a wider restructure of Ford’s global businesses, which include cutting costs by around £10.5 billion in the next five years.
Speaking at the Detroit motor show about Ford’s European restructure, Hackett said: “We have the right people, but in Europe we need to work on the business model. We’ve identified three business groups [commercial vehicles, passenger cars and imported models] to build for the future, and all three will be profitable.
“Building the infrastructure to support them is what’s important. The key thing is that what’s happening in Europe is a good news story. Any business I’ve been involved in has undergone changes: it’s Darwinian. I want to make sure that change happens in an orderly way.”
Speaking about the business more widely, Hackett added: “The same approach is happening in North America: here the design of the business is in the right place, but the challenge is in the future and preparing for it.”
In the US, Ford is currently in the middle of a new model offensive that will involve refreshing 75% of its range by the end of 2020, and introducing 40 electrified vehicles by the end of 2022. The Explorer SUV hybrid was unveiled at Detroit, and key future launches include the new Escape SUV, the return of the Bronco and a Mustang-inspired EV.
In an interview with CNBC on the eve of the Detroit show, Hackett said that the firm has 16 electric vehicles in development, and added: “We have a pretty big surprise coming next year.”