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Ford Facing the “Squeeze” in Europe

But new President Jim Farley still sees reason to be upbeat.

by on Mar.10, 2015

Ford of Europe Pres. Jim Farley during the Geneva unveiling of the maker's new Focus RS.

Ford Motor Co. may finally be turning the corner after years of losses in its European operations. But while things are generally moving in the right direction, Ford’s new European President Jim Farley warns that the carmaker is facing what he calls the big “squeeze.”

The Detroit maker, like crosstown rival General Motors, has been struggling for years to turn things around in Europe. Though it had hoped to approach breakeven last year, Ford still posted a $433 million European loss during the final quarter of 2014, and $1.1 billion for the full year.

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It remains to be seen if it can meet its target this year. But there’s clear momentum, stressed Farley, during an interview in Geneva. “We’re going to make progress, despite the headwinds, in our financials.”


Ford Shares Plunge on Bad News About Recalls, Europe

But maker insists it is “well-positioned for long-term.”

by on Sep.30, 2014

Ford CEO Mark Fields, shown with the 2015 Edge, insists the maker's long-term prospects are solid.

Investors took a dim view after being given an inside look at Ford Motor Co, the maker acknowledging that its European turnaround will be delayed, while it expects to run up big losses in South America, as well – with earnings taking taking another $500 million hit due to recent recalls.

Ford shares closed Monday at $15.11, down about 7.5% on nearly three times the normal volume on the New York Stock Exchange, investors having to balance the maker’s short-term problems against the more upbeat, long-term potential outlined by new Ford CEO mark Fields and his top management team.

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“Our long-term plan underscores the commitment we have to our One Ford plan, while accelerating our pace of progress, delivering product excellence and driving innovation in all areas of our business,” Fields said during a presentation to automotive analysts dubbed Ford 2020. “We remain completely focused on offering customers the freshest lineup of world-class vehicles to meet their needs.”


Ford “On Track” for European Turnaround

Maker betting on product blitz, cost cuts to be in black by 2015.

by on Jul.09, 2014

Ford's European chief Stephen Odell.

With the European automotive market showing signs of an upturn after its worst slump in a quarter century, Ford Motor Co. is growing increasingly confident in the aggressive turnaround plan it launched during the depths of the downturn.

The maker’s sales have been outpacing the overall industry recovery, and while some automotive analysts believe Ford of Europe might actually break even for 2014 the maker is, for now, sticking with guidance promising to “improve” its financial situation this year, while projecting “profitability” in 2015. Ford lost $1.4 billion in Europe last year.

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The plan is “on track,” said Ford of Europe president Stephen Odell, during a media roundtable on Thursday. “We are very, very pleased with where we are in our European transformation plan.”


Ford Shakes Up European Product Development

Barb Samardzich named first woman head of PD for Ford of Europe.

by on Aug.12, 2011

Barb Samardzich will take over product development duties for Ford of Europe.

Ford Motor Co. has named Barb Samardzich, vice president, Global Product Programs, to the position of vice president product development of Ford of Europe, effective Sept. 1.

The 52-year-old Ford veteran becomes the first woman to take on such a senior product development role for the Dearborn automaker – though rival General Motors moved a step ahead by naming Mary Barra its global product chief earlier in the year.

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In her new post, Samardzich will oversee all Product Development activities in the European region – but because of the increasingly global nature of Ford’s operations, she will have a direct impact on products – such as the Ford Focus and C-Max – that are filling the maker’s line-up worldwide.


Ford Reveals Aggressive Product Plan for Europe

“We’ve come through the worst,” says Odell.

by on Jun.15, 2011

Ford lays out plans for all-new products, including the replacement for the Focus ST.

Ford is planning to introduce an array of 20 new or significantly freshened vehicles in Europe over the next three years and will use existing plants in Spain, Germany, Romania and Turkey to carry out the plan.

The program is designed to help Ford turn things around after a devastating downturn worsened by the 2009 economic crisis.

“We’ve come through the worst of the economic crisis as a strong and profitable company, and we have a full pipeline of exciting vehicles coming to market,” said Stephen Odell, chairman and CEO, Ford of Europe, “Now we are taking the right actions to grow profitably in Europe.”

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With the automaker pressing ever further with its One Ford strategy, however, the plans for Europe will be felt around the world, notably in the United States, where next-generation models, such as the Fiesta and Ford also will be introduced.  The changes coming in Europe, meanwhile, are designed to support CEO Alan Mulally’s plans to grow global sales by more than 50%.


Ford’s Farley Gets Key Global Assignment

Odell leaving Volvo for Ford of Europe.

by on Jul.15, 2010

Ford's global marketing chief, Jim Farley, now adds global sales and service responsibilities to his portfolio.

Ford has announced a number of senior management changes that, among other things, will give it a global sales, service and marketing czar, for the first time, and a new boss in Europe.

A one-time rising star at Toyota, 48-year-old Jim Farley has been serving a variety of marketing roles since moving to Michigan three years ago.  He is currently group vice president of global marketing, while also running Ford’s operations in Canada, Mexico and South America.

In his new role, Farley drops operational responsibilities but he picks up the added duties of overseeing global sales and service.  Effective August 1, it will be the first time a single executive has handled all three operations on a global basis.

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At the same time, Eduardo Serrano, 50, will become executive director of all Ford Latin American operations.  He is currently president and CEO of Ford of Mexico.  Canadian operations will be handled by David Mondragon, currently president of Ford of Canada.

If there’s any significant surprise in today’s announcement, it’s that Stephen Odell will remain with Ford, taking over as chairman and CEO of Ford of Europe.  Since October 2008, the British-born executive had been president of Volvo Cars, the Swedish marque Ford is selling to the Chinese.


Ford’s Number One? For Now, at Least

Maker grabs the March sales crown in Europe.

by on Apr.15, 2010

The Fiesta helped Ford achieve its best European market share in 12 years, last month.

Ford Motor Co. is on a roll, and not just in its home market.  The maker has just claimed the sales crown in Europe – for March, anyway – where its ongoing recovery yielded a hefty 16.1% increase in volume for the month and the company’s best market share in a dozen years.

In a market crowded with competitors, and where every sale is bitterly fought over, Ford gained 0.4 points of market share, to reach 10.4%, in March, based on the Continent’s 19 primary markets.  Total Ford sales for the month came to 192,500 vehicles.

Nonetheless, a senior Ford executive warned that competition is intense, especially in light of Europe’s huge problem with over-capacity.  Most manufacturers need to trim their operations, analysts have been echoing, but tough unions and restrictive national laws – complicated by the fact that few makers want to make the first big move – have led to near paralysis on capacity decisions.

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At 10.4%m Ford achieved its highest level of market share since August 1998, and much of the credit is given to the automaker’s latest Fiesta subcompact.  The model achieved a nearly 29% increase in sales last month, accounting for a full 35% of the maker’s European volume.


Ford Has No Plans to Retreat From Europe

Ford of Europe continues merging design and engineering as the recession worsens.

by on Mar.03, 2009

John Fleming: One Ford ties remain tight.

John Fleming: "One Ford" remain the goal.

While General Motors consider a possible, partial spinoff of its European Opel subsidiary, Ford Motor Co. is, if anything, drawing its Continental operations even closer.

But Ford of Europe is feeling – and sharing – the pain of the automotive downturn, which started in the U.S., and is now growing steadily worse overseas. As a result, FoE is being forced to rethink its ambitious product development program, acknowledged the subsidiary’s top executive, during an interview with

“The current situation is adding an even credibility to Alan (Mullaly, the Ford CEO’s) vision of One Ford, explained John Fleming, head of Ford of Europe, referring to the program designed to integrate the automaker’s traditionally independent design and engineering operations. “That becomes even more important in the current climate,” continued Fleming, adding that there is no interest in spinning off a stake in Ford of Europe, as GM has suggested it could do with Opel to raise some much-needed capital.