Published: 16 Sep 2013
Ford has been busy showing off its Ford Mondeo Vignale Concept car this past week to delighted audiences at the Frankfurt Motor Show. As always though, the company is not resting on its laurels and has used the platform of the event in Germany to announce that it would be actively expanding its line-up of vehicles as it awaits the recovery of the European market.
The tactic is very similar to the approach taken back in 2008 and 2009, when Ford Motor Co. beefed up its portfolio to ensure it was leading the pack when the economy got back on its feet. It was a plan that worked very well, and Ford will be hoping that history can repeat itself in Europe, both in market recovery and company position.
Five year plan
Head of product development at Ford of Europe, Barb Samardzich, had the pleasure of announcing the company’s plan at the motor show, and said that Ford wants to be prepared to gain share in a healthy European market.
“It's the same exact strategy as in North America: to make sure that our portfolio was the best ever when the economy turned around,” Samardzich told leading car news site Automotive News. Speaking of Samardzich, the past week has brought Ford’s rising star some exciting news on a personal level, when it was announced she would be taking over as Ford of Europe’s new chief operating officer from November 1.
Speaking to the media at the Frankfurt event, Ford of Europe president Stephen Odell said that the company would expand its portfolio from the original aim of adding 15 vehicles in five years, to 25 vehicles in Europe over the same period.
Odell said that the new fleet will be made up of new generation models and new additions, but made it clear that there will be no variants. He also went on to say that Ford is determined to post a profit in the European market in 2015 and that the new line-up, along with an 18 per cent cut to production capacity, would be instrumental in the effort.
EcoSport leading the way
Thanks to the One Ford drive for global uniform platform and powertrains, Samardzich said that the expansion process would be made easier. This was shown with the arrival of the EcoSport, an Indian-built model that was brought effortlessly into the European market, with vehicles built in Russia. The EcoSport will be available at Jennings Motor Group in the coming months.
The EcoSport will go on sale in Europe before the end of the year and will lead the way in Ford’s expansion plans. The EcoSport will come in 1.5-litre manual and automatic, petrol and diesel engines, as well as the company’s revolutionary 1.0-litre EcoBoost EcoSport that is capable of churning out 125 bhp and 18.9 KMPL.
The European market has taken a downturn over the past 18 months; however, it is expected to recover over the next 1-2 years. When it does, you can guarantee Ford will be at the fore.
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