ST TROPEZ, France - Ford of Europe has set investment levels in new product at no more than $1.2 billion a year over the next five years.
The level matches the net depreciation of its European assets, said Chairman Nick Scheele here in an interview at the European launch of the new Ford Mondeo.
'We have to put money into product, not into plant,' Scheele said. 'We have reduced our costs by $1.5 billion over the past 18 months and we need to carry this process forward into the future.
'Our target is to reduce the value of our European assets by $2 billion by 2003. We can do this if product investment levels are equivalent to our net asset depreciation, and if we invest in ventures such as the manual transmission tie-up with Getrag, instead of investing in plants.'
Scheele said this program will still allow Ford of Europe to introduce 45 actions covering replacement models, revisions and new variants over the 2000-2004 period.
Ten product actions will be taken this year including new Galaxy minivan, front-wheel-drive Transit commercial vehicle, and the replacement Mondeo with its new gasoline and diesel engines.
Nine introductions are scheduled for next year including an all-new Fiesta and the Maverick/Escape sport-utility.
Eight are scheduled for both 2002 and 2003, and 10 in 2004. Only Focus will remain basically unaltered.
During this time Ford will take 30 specific moves to increase its presence in diesels. Ford begins by offering two versions of the new Duratorq diesel engine in the new Mondeo, which generate 90hp and 125hp using high-pressure pilot pump injection.
A common-rail version of the unit will be announced in December.
All these diesel engines will be produced in Dagenham, England, where the ending of Fiesta production will contribute a substantial portion of Ford's cost reduction.