Jim Farley Confirms Ford Has No Plans to Leave Europe in Wake of Opel/Vauxhall Sale
While this week’s sale of the Opel and Vauxhall brands to PSA Group is a solid indication that General Motors is all but completely abandoning ship when it comes to growth in Europe, Ford has every intention of staying put and sticking with its “One Ford” plan.
Jim Farley, Executive Vice President and President, Europe, Middle East, and Africa, Ford Motor Company, told CNBC that record profits and a 4% operating margin in 2016 confirm the automaker’s plans to ride the wave in Europe, even in spite of GM’s hasty exit and the lingering issues presented by Brexit. According to Farley, the plan moving forward is to stick to its target of 6% operating margin.
“[Europe] is still a key market globally for new technology roll-outs like electric cars and automated vehicles, and key for Ford’s commercial vehicles,” Farley said.
Ford started off 2017 with all-time best January sales of its commercial vehicles and a 14% market share, led by record sales of the Transit and Transit Custom. Ford was the top commercial brand in its 20 traditional markets (Austria, Belgium, Britain, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Romania, Sweden, and Switzerland) in 2016, the second consecutive year that Ford has been Europe’s top CV brand.
Farley told Bloomberg, “We have a vibrant, profitable company in Europe. Last year, we had a record $1.2 billion profit,” attributing the company’s current success to tough decisions made over the past several years during economic downturn.
Farley also told Bloomberg that Russia has been a key factor in its success in Europe thanks to profit improvement and gained market share, and noted that it is too early to tell how much the sale of Opel/Vauxhall to PSA Group will affect its approach in Europe—if at all.
While Farley was not willing to commit to the idea of losing jobs in the UK as a result of Brexit, he did suggest that it would likely lead to some degrees of belt-tightening.
Both interviews with Farley can be found below: