In an exclusive interview with GlobalData, Ford of Europe President Stuart Rowley outlined the unit’s strategy to move from operating at a loss to turning a profit.
David Leggett, Automotive Editor at GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, offers his view:
“Ford of Europe’s President Stuart Rowley told GlobalData that there is much to do to return Ford to annual profitability, but it is on track and has made good progress during 2019. Strategic focus on both the cost base and product offerings - followed through in execution - is key. The quarterly results and underlying trend for the company in Europe over the past year bear that out.
“These are undoubtedly turbulent times for Ford. Earlier this month, investors took fright when the company announced a $1.7bn quarterly loss (Q4). But Ford Europe was a bright spot in the gloom, posting a small Q4 profit of $21m (the only region outside of North America to be in profit for the quarter) and a big improvement to trend during the course of 2019.
“In 2018 Ford put together a clear strategy in 2018 to re-set and re-design its business in Europe. In 2019, the results of that were evident. The company in Europe is cutting its cost base - as seen in a 20% workforce reduction plan, a restructuring of its Russia business and the closure of the Bridgend engine plant.
“These are difficult steps, but a leaner cost base is also being coupled with a rationalisation of the product portfolio to both avoid EU fines under new CO2 rules and accelerate the move into electrified products - on both passenger vehicles and commercial vehicles.”