Ford upbeat on Europe turnaround
Paris, November 23, 2013
Ford's European turnaround is gaining traction as the car market stabilises, though there is work to do controlling costs and launching new models before a promised return to profit, the US carmaker's regional chief said.
Recovering demand is bringing the 2015 profit goal within reach whether or not rivals follow Ford's example by cutting plant capacity, Ford of Europe chief executive Stephen Odell said.
"There are enough signals that we've levelled out," Odell said, citing October's second straight monthly gain in regional sales.
Ford expects Western European registrations to stabilise at 13.5 million vehicles this year and return to growth in 2014, Odell said.
While still far below its pre-crisis peak of 18.5 million vehicles, Ford believes the market is well on track for the 15 million forecast underpinning its 2015 profit goal.
"It's not a wildly optimistic plan," Odell said. "It doesn't overly depend upon the industry."
What it does require, he added, is tight cost control and the successful launch of dozens of models, while lifting prices with higher-end versions under Ford's new "Vignale" label.-Reuters