With the European market already in the start of a potential freefall, Ford Motor Company has already warned that its overseas operations could generate significant losses in the months ahead. But if recent numbers are any indication, the situation could prove worse than the maker’s already dire forecast.
Ford reports its European sales fell 10% in the first half of year as auto sales across Europe plunged to their lowest levels in nearly two decades. Last month, Ford had warned that its European subsidiary would post a loss for the second quarter because of the market downturn.
“The economic environment remains very difficult, obviously, and we are balancing the need to be price competitive, while remaining committed to improving net pricing, building brand strength and protecting residual values,” said Roelant de Waard, vice president, Marketing, Sales and Services, Ford of Europe.
The news isn’t entirely bleak. Overall, Ford still was the second best-selling brand in Europe for the first half of 2012 counting (total vehicle sales in 19 European countries). Ford retained market leadership in the UK, Turkey and Hungary in both June and for the first half of the year.
Through June, Ford has sold 617,600 new vehicles in its traditional 19 markets, resulting in an 8.1% market share. In June, Ford’s sales decreased by 16.1% to 100,400 units, with a market share of 7.3%.
“In the second half the year,” De Waard said, “we have the opportunity to gain momentum with the launch of some very exciting new products, such as the all-new B-MAX, a new Fiesta and the new Transit Custom.”
He added the 1-liter EcoBoost engine, which has exceeded sales expectations since launching in the compact Ford Focus earlier this year, will soon be offered in the B-MAX, C-MAX and other vehicles.
The UK remained Ford’s largest European market in the first six months of the year, with sales of 183,900 units, up by 1.2 per cent over the same period last year. Ford market share was 15.3%.
Ford has retained leadership in car sales in the UK for the past 35 successive years, and been the best-selling commercial vehicle brand for the past 46 consecutive years.
Ford sales in Russia and Eastern Europe were also up in the first six months of the year. In Russia, Ford sales rose 18.3% to 63,400, while market share increased by 0.1 percentage points to 4.3%. In Eastern Europe, Ford’s sales rose by 14.7% to 25,900 year-to-date.
When all 51 markets in the European region are rolled in, the Ford sales volume was 759,800 vehicles, down 8.9% on the first half 2011.