Ford Asks the EU to Limit Auto Exports From South Korea image

Stephen Odell, chairman and chief executive of Ford Europe, called on the EU to limit auto imports from Korea, as the Seoul government continues to impose barriers on the EU trades.

Stephen Odell said that the EU should also change the rules of the free trade agreement with Japan, as the Tokyo government still refuses to dismantle the non-tariff barriers for vehicles. He added that imports from South Korea to the EU reached 1 million units, which would be five times the number of European exports to the Korean market.

“The last thing we need is for Japan to exacerbate the surplus supply to Europe by flooding the market with products,” said Odell.

Ford has reached high profits for 15 straight quarters, but its European unit continues to report losses, with a pre-tax loss of almost $1.8 billion last year. Stephen Odell expects Ford Europe to loss almost $2 billion by the end of this year.

“The level playing field sometimes feels as if it has been built on the side of the mountain,” he says.

Part of the European restructuring plan, Ford has already closed an important plant in Belgium, its pressing and stamping operations at Dagenham in London and a van plant in Southampton. Still, the automaker continues to invest in new products, planning to introduce 15 new vehicles in the next five years.