LONDON (Bloomberg) -- Ford Motor Co. said the size of its manufacturing base in Europe will be determined by how long the region's demand for new cars remains subdued.
While Ford needs capacity in hand to benefit from any rebound, it has a history of "right-sizing" production and will evaluate the future of plants should that be necessary, said Ford of Europe CEO Stephen Odell.
Industrywide auto sales in the region totaled 13.6 million across 30 countries in 2011, lower than 2007's pre-slump high of 19 million and shy of a more "normal" figure of 17 million that Odell reckons may not be reached for another four or five years.
In the near term, Ford will look at taking out more working days while relying on new models to spur sales, he said. "It's my job to be profitable at whatever level the market is at," Odell said in an interview in London.
"We're taking out temporary workers and cutting hours and we'll continue to do that," he said. "In terms of capacity, we will watch it. We've been pretty proactive in the past and we'll have to take a long-term view of how long the industry bumps along at 14 million units."
Spain, Germany production cuts
European car sales hit a 14-year monthly low in March, according to data from industry association ACEA, falling 6.6 percent to 1.5 million, as economic growth stalled.