Ford sees rising trouble for European division image

The second largest US automaker has seen years of high losses from its Ford of Europe division, and before the recovery takes hold and turns around the profitability prospects of the company in the region, the carmaker may face a big “squeeze.”

That’s according to the continent’s new president Jim Farley, who also says that actually things are finally starting to swing in the right direction – with Ford – just like Detroit rival General Motors – struggling for years to return to profitability in the region. The automaker initially forecasted it could break even as early as last year, the final bill was of $433 million during the final quarter of 2014 and a total annual loss of $1.1 billion. “We’re going to make progress, despite the headwinds, in our financials,” recently commented Farley. With continued trouble from Russia – where Ford invested heavily – the automaker’s turnaround formula now hinges on the critical product development mix: Ford originally scheduled for the five year period starting with early 2014 that it would bring 15 new or facelifted models in Europe and the mark has been raised since to 25 – covering every segment from the tiny EcoSport SUV to the next generation of the Transit commercial van.

For the year the blitz has started with the recent introduction of the highly anticipated RS performance version of the Focus compact. Another key introduction could prove to be the upscale Vignale trim debuting on the large Mondeo. “We have to stay competitive with the luxury makers that are coming down,” stressed Farley, even as Ford also has to cope with rising affordable brands such as VW’s Seat and Skoda or Renault’s Dacia.