Ford is due to launch seven new or freshened vehicles in 2016 as part of the manufacturer's plan to build a vibrant and sustainably profitable business.
As well as new vehicles, the manufacturer's strategy includes brand and efficiency initiatives to deliver improved profits in 2016 and a 6-8% operating margin for Ford of Europe in the longer term.
Ford’s European strategy calls for a more streamlined and profitable product line; more emotional and experiential brand communications; and a leaner cost structure to lower breakeven and help offset growing regulatory costs.
“In the past three years, Ford of Europe has improved its business in all areas and moved from deep losses to a $259 million profit in 2015. This is a good first step,” said Jim Farley, Ford executive vice president, Europe, Middle East and Africa.
“We are absolutely committed to accelerating our transformation, taking the necessary actions to create a vibrant business that’s solidly profitable in both good times and down cycles.”
Ford has initiated a voluntary separation programme in Europe supporting a significant reduction in administrative and selling costs to reach industry benchmark levels of efficiency.
With the move, Ford of Europe expects to save about $200 million a year on an ongoing basis.
"We are creating a far more lean and efficient business that can deliver healthy returns and earn future investment,” Farley said.
“Our job is to make our vehicles as efficiently as possible, spending every dollar in a way that serves customers’ needs and desires, and creating a truly sustainable, customer-focused business.”
After launching more than 30 new and refreshed vehicles since late 2012, and increasing market share in each of the past two years and boosting sales 10% in 2015, Ford of Europe will continue to strengthen its vehicle line with plans to:
- Launch seven new and refreshed vehicles in 2016, including the Focus RS performance hatch and the new Kuga and Edge SUVs. Streamline core model line-up to eliminate less profitable vehicle lines over time.
- Launch five new vehicles to compete in the SUV and crossover space in the next three years, starting with new Edge in the second quarter. SUVs remain Europe’s fastest-growing market segment, and Ford expects to surpass 200,000 SUV sales in Europe for the first time in 2016 – a growth of more than 30 percent compared with 2015.
- With the launch of Focus RS, joining Focus ST, Fiesta ST and Mustang, Ford of Europe expects record performance car sales in Europe in 2016 of about 40,000 vehicles.
- Expand upscale Vignale line and customer experience from one model today – Mondeo Vignale – to at least five Vignale models by 2017
- Introduce new plug-in hybrid, hybrid-electric and full electric vehicles in Europe by 2020 – part of Ford’s previously announced $4.5 billion investment in electrified vehicle solutions
- Ford this year will offer eight vehicle lines in Europe with sophisticated all-wheel drive or four-wheel drive technologies, compared to three models in 2012. Ford expects to sell about 140,000 all-wheel drive and four-wheel drive vehicles in Europe in 2016 – a 120% increase compared to 2014
- Continue to invest in and strengthen Europe’s best-selling line-up of commercial vehicles, including new powertrain and technologies for Transit Custom and Transit two-tonne, and a freshened Ranger – Europe’s No1 top-selling pick-up – for 2015.
Ford also plans to reach new customers through increased experiential marketing and best-in-class dealer and customer experience with the completion of 500 new, state-of-the-art flagship FordStores in major urban areas.
The manufacturer is identifying opportunities for new revenue streams in Europe – recurring and potentially higher margin – as part of Ford Smart Mobility. Key areas of focus include customer loyalty, multi-modal transport services, fleet services and ride services.
As an initial step in January, Ford unveiled FordPass – a platform that reimagines the relationship between automaker and consumer.
FordPass members can talk to a personal mobility assistant to help with travel arrangements, reserve and pay for advance parking, earn loyalty points, schedule service and much more. FordPass launches in Europe later this year.
FordPass also includes the opening of FordHubs, where consumers will be able to explore Ford’s latest innovations, learn about its mobility services, and experience exclusive events, with the first FordHub in Europe opening in London this year.
“We are investing in Ford Smart Mobility, which will deepen our customer relationships and reduce our conquest marketing costs,” said Roelant de Waard, vice-president, marketing, sales and service, Ford of Europe.
“There is a huge opportunity in Europe to give our customers what they want, sometimes before they even know it, by anticipating their needs through data and data analytics.”