Ford of Europe Stephen Odell is seeing some light at the end of Europe's long tunnel.
While it’s far too early to predict that the struggling European car market is finally back in gear, there are growing signs that the worst is over, suggests Stephen Odell, the CEO of Ford European operations. With the maker now confident it will be back in the black by 2015, that’s encouraging Ford to prepare for the inevitable revival with a blitz of new products.
Ford had previously announced plans to roll out 15 all-new or completely redesigned models during a five-year period starting in mid-2012. But over a dinner prior to the start of the Frankfurt Motor Show, Odell says Ford has upped that to 25 new products during the same timeframe.
Your Source for Auto News!
“We are at the bottom,” the executive says. And while he cautions, “There are no major signs of uptick,” he insists, “it does feel like we’re running along the bottom.”
Ordinarily, that might not seem like a very positive assessment, but consider that European sales have been tumbling by at least 500,000 annually in recent years, the numbers from the first part of 2013 dipping to two-decade lows. That forced Ford to take a number of critical steps, including the planned closure of its big assembly plant in Genk, Belgium and two smaller facilities in the U.K.