With a 4.3 percent sales increase in March and an 8.4 percent jump for the first quarter, Ford is on track for another solid European year.
After it took the back-to-profit path in 2015 in Europe, Ford is continuing on the same trend this year as well, at least so far. The US automaker reported its best first quarter total vehicles sales in Europe in 16 years, the best passenger car figures since 2011, and best commercial vehicle volumes since 1993. Across all of its 50 regional markets, the company sold 401,200 vehicles from January to March, up 8.4 percent versus an industry growth of 5.4 percent, while the market share rose by 0.3 percent to 8.0 points. From the quarterly total, 191,500 units were sold only in March, up 4.3 percent.
As Europe’s no. 1 commercial vehicle brand, Ford sales in the segment grew 17.3 percent to 40,000 units in March, and 14.4 percent to 80,900 units in the first quarter on increased demand for the expanded Transit lineup and the Ranger model, the latter grabbing the best-selling pick-up “award” on the continent. SUVs were once again on high demand, with the EcoSport compact SUV selling 14,600 units, a 50 percent improvement year-over-year, while Kuga deliveries enjoyed their best-ever first quarter sales, with 30,700 models.
Ford expects its SUV sales to grow by about 30 percent in 2016 compared with 2015, and to break the 200,000 sales barrier for the first time ever in Europe. It also sees the market to go up to approximately 1.5 million sport utility vehicles a year by 2017, up 35 percent from 2015, targeting around 20 percent market-share. To support the growing demand in the segment, Ford announced in March its intention to bring the production of EcoSport in Europe, from the autumn of 2017, to the company’s Romanian factory in Craiova.