Ford upping production in Europe

Ford upping production in Europe

By Alisa Priddle, Detroit Free Press 4:02 a.m. EST January 16, 2015

Ford continues to lose money in Europe

Ford is increasing production at plants in Saarlouis and Cologne, Germany, to meet growing demand for several top-selling vehicles in a market where sluggish sales continue to incur losses.

Starting next week, Ford plans to increase production of the Focus, C-Max and Grand C-Max at the Saarlouis plant by 240 units per day to a daily output of 1,770 vehicles. The Focus and C-Max are among Ford’s best-selling vehicles in the region.

The Cologne plant in February will increase Fiesta production by 300 units a day to 1,850 vehicles and six additional weekend shifts have been scheduled in January and February. The Fiesta is Ford’s top-selling vehicle in Europe.

“We are ramping up production of some of our top-selling models to meet growing demand from Ford customers as well as the normal industry sales increase in the first half of the year,” said Jeff Wood, head of manufacturing for Ford of Europe.

In 2014, Ford increased sales in Europe by 7.3% and market share inched up by less than a percentage point. Ford had hoped to start making a profit in Europe by now but changed its guidance to an expectation of a $1.2 billion pretax loss in 2014 and further losses this year, even with many vehicle introductions planned, including sale of the new Mustang.

Ford will report fourth-quarter and full-year 2014 financial results on Jan. 29.

Jim Farley, Ford’s sales and marketing chief, is the new head of Ford of Europe, charged with overseeing its return to profitability. He swaps jobs with Stephen Odell who has returned to Dearborn and will oversee global sales and marketing.

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