Ford Europe’s chief sees growing demand in 2014 image

Stephen Odell, president of Ford’s Europe, Middle East and Africa operations said new-car sales in Ford’s 19 main European markets may rise almost 6 % this year, driven by customers replacing aging vehicles.

Vehicles on European roads have been in use for an average seven to eight years, unusually old for that market though less than the 11-year average for U.S. cars. “There is a replacement climate, for sure,” Odell said. Industrywide deliveries in the region may jump to as many as 14.5 million in 2014 from about 13.7 million in 2013, Odell added.

“There will be a point where the average age will trigger something, and that really is what’s feeding our view of a modest recovery. The unknown is when the unemployment levels start to change, and that would be an accelerant,” the executive said in an interview in Detroit.

Major automakers are expressing optimism about a slow rebound in the European car market after three consecutive monthly increases through November, the longest string of gains in four years. Prior to that streak, figures for the eight months through August were the lowest since industry association ACEA started compiling numbers in 1990.

Via Automotive News Europe