Fleet News

Kwik-Fit facing sale as Ford restructures

FORD is considering selling fast-fit giant Kwik-Fit and could dispose of its Hertz rental operation as part of a massive worldwide overhaul.

The move was announced by chairman and chief executive officer Bill Ford just weeks after he took over as head of the manufacturing giant as part of a drive to wipe billions from costs and stem losses.

The global review revealed last week, is part of an efficiency drive that will see 35,000 job cuts, out of a workforce of 345,000, closure of five US factories to reduce production capacity by 1 million units and the killing of four American models - the Ford Cougar, Escort, Villager and Lincoln Continental.

The Ford chairman vowed to take no salary or bonus payments during the turnaround.

The firm revealed that radical new plans already unveiled in Europe, which included ending car production at Ford's Dagenham plant, were being used as the blueprint for overhauling operations in the rest of the world.

Sir Nick Scheele, Ford president and chief operating officer, said: 'We will be focusing on quality, quality, quality, increasing our manufacturing flexibility. Although the actions we are outlining today are difficult, they are necessary steps to lead Ford back to a strong financial and competitive position.

'They will help us address our problems, while at the same time permitting us to keep a sharp focus on delivering great products.'

He added that there would be a growing focus on the Premier Automotive Group, but added that 'non-core' operations were under review. Asked specifically whether this meant that Kwik-Fit was up for sale Martin Inglis, Ford chief financial officer, said: 'It is being evaluated.'

The sale of non-core assets should bring in more than £600 million this year, the firm said.

Sir Tom Farmer, Kwik-Fit's chairman and chief executive, said: 'Kwik-Fit people are all Ford people and we will support any decision that Ford makes.'

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