DETROIT After buying Jaguar, Volvo and Land Rover, Ford has acquired all the car companies it wants, Chairman and Chief Executive Jac Nasser says.
Ford is not interested in buying BMW, one of the strongest remaining independents. The Ford chief expects BMW to remain independent and eventually sell 2 million vehicles a year.
The comments come after Ford made a deal to acquire Land Rover the jewel of the Rover Group amid the chaotic disposal of Rover Cars by BMW.
For Europe and Latin America, Ford may seek to achieve further economies of scale through partnerships with other makers, but without doing a share swap.
Speaking in an interview at Ford's headquarters near Detroit, Nasser said most of the auto industry's consolidation was now over. 'Now, for everyone, it is time to work on the basics of the business.'
Nasser divides the automotive industry into three categories: the Big Six (General Motors, Ford, DaimlerChrysler, Toyota, Volkswagen and Renault/Nissan); the smaller independents (BMW, Honda and PSA/Peugeot-Citroen); and the satellites of the Big Six (including Fiat Auto, Mitsubishi, Subaru and Suzuki). To complete this picture, according to Nasser, GM and Renault-Nissan are both 'looking for a premium global brand.' Hyundai/Kia is somewhere between the final two groups as either a smaller independent or a satellite to one of the Big Six.'
Ford of Europe Chairman Nick Scheele and his team are working on a revival plan to be completed by early May, says Nasser. It will include more product launches and better capacity utilization.
'Selling Volvo's stake in NedCar [the Dutch factory where the Volvo S/V40 is built alongside the Mitsubishi Space Star and Carisma] means we will fill all Volvo capacity,' says Nasser. 'The same is going to happen to Jaguar with the arrival of the X400 [the BMW 3 series competitor to be launched at the Birmingham auto show this autumn].
'Land Rover capacity is already full, although we still need to work on Ford plants,' said Nasser. 'Halewood is going from Ford to Jaguar, Dagenham is reduced by one shift, Genk and Cologne have already been restructured, we are leaving Palmela to VW, and we are in the process of closing Azambuja. All these actions have already been done, but you don't yet see the financial results of them.
'We have not ruled out the idea of building Mazdas in Europe. Also the S40/V40 successors will be built in an existing Volvo or Ford plant.'
Nasser divided Ford Motor Co.'s 4x4 strategy into the following: Volvos have to remain 'all-weather vehicles'; Land Rovers 'true off-road vehicles,' Ford Excursion' and Expedition no boundaries, while Explorer, Escape and Lincoln Navigator 'American four-wheel-drive.' Ford makes about 1 million units in these four categories, but Nasser sees potential growth of 50 percent.