Ford Confident Europeans Will Turn to the Blue Oval to Go Green
As it restructures its European business and rejiggers its lineup for greater sales, Ford believes a new product push will reverse the trend of tepid volume. The automaker has already culled certain slow-selling products, promising more SUVs and putting much effort behind its crossoverized “Active” small car variants. Now, electricity will do the rest of the work.
The Blue Oval plans to introduce eight electrified models on the continent this year, with nine more arriving by 2024. Within a few years, Ford predicts sales of purely gas and diesel models will take a backseat to its green offerings.
As part of a broader global streamlining effort, Ford tinkered heavily with its model line and workforce in the region, desperate to shore up its overseas operations ahead of an anticipated recession. Its European business turned a slight profit in the first quarter this year, only to see one-time charges associated with the cost-cutting weigh down its Q2 balance sheet. The company saw net income fall 86 percent in the second quarter of 2019.
And yet the automaker has a reason to feel confident that its decisions will pay off. European lawmakers hate gasoline and diesel and, unlike in the U.S., they’ll happily do whatever it takes to salt the earth where internal combustion once stood. Still, as auto sales fall, Ford must ensure it picks up a bigger slice of a smaller pie.
Electrification is part of that strategy. Earlier this year, Ford announced a slew of new model variants, including an Explorer Plug-in Hybrid we can’t get on this side of the pond. Come 2022, Ford predicts more than half of it sales will stem from the sale of hybrid, plug-in, and fully electric vehicles.
A collaboration with six European utilities announced last week will see Ford develop a mobile app that ensures green customers know when to plug in, and where. Incentives and home charging solutions will also pour forth from the partnership.
In August, Ford hit a 21-year sales high in the region, with volume up 5.1 percent year over year. Its market share rose to 7.2 percent, up nearly a full percent. Overall, European car sales are headed strongly in a downward direction, down 7.2 percent in western Europe and 6.5 percent in the east. Year-to-date sales are down 2.7 percent in western Europe and 7.8 percent in eastern Europe.
Does that mean its sales are soaring? Nope. August 2018 was, by far, that year’s worst sales month for Ford of Europe. Besides August, July was the only other month this year to see a year-over-year gain. A sign of a turning tide? Perhaps, but Ford still has a long way to go to recapture the volume it regularly enjoyed prior to the recession.
[Images: Ford of Europe]
Conundrum on Sep 16, 2019
Remember that Ford-VW tie-up? Where nothing was supposed to be happening? These Fords will use the VW MEB chassis, Modular Electrik something or other. Same as the new Electric Golf and ID whatever they ares. Surprised TTAC didn't note this. All the articles I've read point out these new Ford EVs are VWs with different tin on top. Ecomomies of scale and all that.
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