Ford relies on new models, such as the EcoSport compact SUV to cut the reliance on low-margin sales to European rental-car companies and therefore end losses in the region.
Ford’s strategy is to lower the share of deliveries towards rental fleets in Europe to less than 13% by 2015, from the current 17%. The automaker aims at increasing sales towards company-fleet and retail buyers, which usually order more expensive vehicles. Ford is in the middle of a model lineup overhaul, which includes the redesigned Mondeo mid-size sedan, to be introduced in 2014, when the company expects to see the European market rebound from the six-year slump.
Roelant de Waard, the U.S. company’s head of sales for Europe, said that the automaker expects some improvement in industrywide demand in 2014 and sales to increase to around 14 million units, from this year’s 13.5 million units. Last month Ford’s sales dropped 2.2% to 99,400 units in Europe, but its market share increased to 8.3%, the highest level since 2009.
“It’s fair to say that with the newness and the freshness of our model lineup that we expect growth” in Ford’s market share in Europe next year, De Waard said.