Ford has announced a new model blitz in an effort to overcome the ‘brutal economic and business conditions’ which are affecting sales in many parts of Europe.
A new Mondeo, a refreshed Fiesta, a full line-up of SUVs, the introduction to Europe of the iconic Mustang – including right-hand drive – and major changes to the market-leading commercial vehicle range are all planned as Ford tries to spend its way back to profitability on this side of the Atlantic and match the transformation it has achieved in America.
‘We acknowledge the current reality and have developed a plan to deal with it,’ says CEO Alan Mulally. ‘We will accelerate the One Ford strategy which we introduced when America was in economic difficulties six years ago.
‘We will increase the number of vehicles on global platforms from 43 per cent to 71 per cent within the next five years. There will be 15 global vehicles in Europe by 2017,’ Mulally added.
Steve Odell, Ford of Europe CEO, forecasts a 20 per cent growth in the continent’s car market, including Russia, within the next five years. Europe will be responsible for one in four car sales throughout the world by 2017. ‘We intend to be a leading player in all major segments,’ he says. ‘We will take the necessary steps to build a growing and profitable business.’
The big new-model push will be in small cars and SUVs. Sales and marketing vice-president Jim Farley says the next-generation Kuga will be followed by the Fiesta-based Ecosport within 18 months, and Ford also plans to bring the Edge – a hugely successful crossover in America – to Europe for the first time.
‘SUVs are the only segment to have grown (in Europe) in the past five years and will double in the next five,’ Farley added. ‘We will sell one million SUVs in Europe by 2018.’
An increasing number of models will be powered by the 1.0-litre Ecoboost turbocharged engine, which is now claiming 30 per cent of Focus sales. The revised Fiesta, new Mondeo and Ecosport will all offer it, which will require annual production of the engine to reach 800,000 by 2015.
Ford has already pledged to have 15 cars which are class-leading for fuel efficiency by the end of this year. There will also be a rapid roll-out of the company’s in-car connectivity system, Ford Sync, until it becomes standard on all European models in less than three years.
Ford’s commercial vehicle plans include new Transit and Tourneo ranges, including the introduction of a two-tonne Transit; turning the Transit Connect into a global vehicle; and the introduction of Tourneo and Transit Courier models which can be adapted to ferry cargo or people.