FORD’s sales and marketing chief, Roelant de Waard, has revealed it will be 2015 before the company will return to profitability in Europe.
In the last financial year the manufacturer haemorrhaged nearly $1bn in Europe, far worse than the $600m it had forecast. However, a tough strategic plan, which has seen plants close in the UK and mainland Europe, was on track to repair the damage, according to de Waard.
In an exclusive interview the sales and marketing vice president for Ford in Europe told us that there was a clear plan to put Ford back in the black.
‘One of the things CEO Alan Mulally brought to the company was that we had to adjust capacity to meet with demand and that has meant we’ve had to make some painful decisions,’ he said.
‘Ford in Europe will be back to profitability by 2015. We’ve announced our plans of plant restructuring and we hope to get agreement with the various workforces and unions soon. At the same time the market should be coming back a little by then too – so that combination makes us confident.’
There’s little doubt de Waard has one of the toughest gigs in the motor industry at the moment. Despite being the biggest selling manufacturer in the UK last year and the Fiesta reigning supreme in bestseller charts across the continent, economic factors have conspired against the car manufacturer.
‘It’s a tough market out there and it’s not just Ford that’s having a tough time it’s the whole automotive industry,’ he explained.
‘What I was most interested in was that we had a compelling vision of how we are going to get through this – and that we have.’
However, although de Waard doesn’t see Europe returning to the heady sales figures of the boom in 2007, he does believe the good times can return.
‘This is a cyclical business and it will come back – just like it has done many times before,’ he said.
‘No one believes that when you are in the doldrums – but Europe is a highly attractive market, so we need to continue to invest and launch good new products.’