PARIS _ Ford Europe is no longer the Continent's ugly
The Ford Motor Co. unit is making money and pumping out new
models as it works to shake the stigma of being Europe's biggest
money loser among automakers, an unwanted moniker it attained in
Third quarter earnings are expected today, following a second
quarter in which Ford Europe reported strong profits. Earnings of
$244 million in that period, not counting Ford Motor Co.'s
troubled Jaguar division, were a far cry from 1992's $697 million
loss _ $1.28 billion counting Jaguar.
On top of its financial turnaround, Ford Europe is finalizing
a major reorganization of its vehicle development and planning to
roll out an all-new subcompact to help drive it into a new market
At the Paris Motor Show earlier this month Ford showed off its
completely retooled Scorpio luxury sedan and unveiled its
long-anticipated minivan, a joint project with Volkswagen to be
sold beginning next year.
Within three years, Ford also plans to roll out its new
subcompact, based on a round, huggable concept vehicle designed
with safety, maneuverability and economy of operation in mind,
Alex Trotman, chairman of Ford Motor Co., said in a speech given
during the Paris show.
"We think there's a demand below the Fiesta level ... for
young people, for a second car, for city traffic," Ford Europe
Chairman Albert Caspers said in an interview.
Ford's demographic studies indicate an increasing number of
female drivers on the roads of Europe, another market Ford wants
to tap with its new subcompact. The automaker hopes the
additional breadth of its vehicle offerings will help it improve
market share against the competition.
For the first nine months of the year, Ford's share of the
European market stood at 12 percent, ranking it as No. 4 behind
Volkswagen, General Motors Europe and PSA Peugeot-Citroen.
"GM Europe has a better history in Europe than Ford. It's much
better at making profits and renewing its cars than Ford Europe,"
said Gerard Ewenczyk, and automobile analyst at SAFE, the
forecasting branch of Groupe Paribas, a banking group.
Renewing vehicles involves redesigning models to provide
something new to draw consumers. The average replacement cycle
for autos has been five years for Ford, compared with three years
for VW and Opel and four years for Citroen, Ewenczyk said. …