Ford of Europe CEO says region is fundamental to company's global plans
Stephen Odell is Chairman and CEO of Ford of Europe
I read with interest Luca Ciferri's commentary suggesting that Ford and GM should consider pulling out of the European marketplace. I have the greatest respect for Luca, but we at Ford take the opposite view to his conclusions.
Rather than retrenchment, our plan is to profitably grow in Europe in the coming years as a fundamental part of our global One Ford strategy.
Luca is right that the current business environment in Europe is severely challenging and will require tough decisions -– and not just for Ford but the industry as a whole. We at Ford will do what it takes to create a healthy business for the long-term. We know how to successfully compete in Europe: we're the No. 2 best-selling vehicle brand, have been profitable in six out of the last eight years, and have moved decisively to match production to real customer demand over the past decade.
Most importantly, we continue to invest heavily in new vehicles and technologies for Europe, with more than 10 new or freshened vehicles hitting the showrooms this year alone, and more to come in 2013.
Anybody who wants to know more about Ford in Europe should drive the Ford Focus with the new 1.0-liter EcoBoost (which was just named International Engine of the Year), or the innovative new Ford B-Max coming this autumn. These are followed by the new Ford Kuga and new Ford Mondeo early next year and much more. At the same time, we are totally renewing our commercial vehicle lineup over the next 18 months, starting with the new Ford Transit Custom launching this year.
We are leveraging low cost and growth opportunities, such as at Ford Otosan, our Turkish JV, and in our new manufacturing facility in Craiova, Romania, where volume production is just starting. We're also expanding production and sales in the important growth market of Russia through our new Ford Sollers JV.
Europe also is of major strategic importance in Ford's global product development process, leading the development of B and C cars, diesel engines and small gasoline engines, and Transit commercial vehicles. It also is a major source of gasoline and diesel engine manufacturing for Ford globally.
Ford's scale in Europe is therefore important to the One Ford plan and Ford's ambitious global targets, and we fully intend to deliver our part and to remain a major player in Europe in the years ahead – just as we have been for more than a century.