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Ford of Europe turnaround plan 'on track'

Wed, 25 Jun 2014

By Tim Pollard

Motor Industry

25 June 2014 14:52

Ford of Europe will stem its huge 10-figure losses and return to profitability in 2015, president Stephen Odell vowed this week.

Talking to CAR at the global launch of the Ford Edge in Cologne, Germany, Odell vowed that heavy losses would be reversed by the sweeping Ford of Europe turnaround plan whose fruits would be borne over the next 12 months.

Ford lost $1.6 billion in Europe in 2013 - the third straight year of red ink flooding the region. Although a staggering amount of cash, that loss was 8% less than 2012's disastrous result.

Odell said that the rescue plan in Europe was working and pointed to the new Edge as one of the reasons for looming profits. 'We said we would launch 25 vehicles in five years - and the Edge is proof of that,' he said. 'And we're talking major new product here, not just minor derivatives.'

The European president said that within 30 months, Ford had launched a completely new commercial vehicle line-up of Transits and Tourneos, and was on the cusp of launching the new Mondeo, upgraded Focus, Galaxy, S-Max, Vignale upmarket editions and the Mustang sports car.

As ever, attractive new product is at the heart of any turnaround plan, Odell added.

'The second element of our turnaround plan is reducing cost and we are stripping out 18% of our capacity in western Europe, excluding Russia,' Odell said, hinting that other struggling volume players had neglected to close factories. Sounds like a swipe at the weak French brands to us...

Along with an overhaul of tired dealerships, Odell said the arrival of new, more upmarket models such as Mustang and Edge would help to add some lustre to the Ford brand image in the region's 2000 showrooms.

'We are on track to become profitable by 2015,' he vowed. 'We do not want to be just a competitor in Europe - we want to be a successful one.'

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By Tim Pollard