Ford Motor Co's strategic overhaul will not lead to a big revamp in its profitable European operations, Ford of Europe President and Chief Executive John Fleming said on Thursday.
We will continue to do what we always do - we continue to refine our weight and get efficiencies year over year - but not a major reorganization, he told reporters at a trade fair in Frankfurt.
Ford has in many ways already done in Europe what its struggling North American business needs to do: better align manufacturing capacity to demand, improve its product lineup and strengthen the brand in a fierce competitive environment.
It has reduced the number of European assembly plants to seven from 11 and cut 9,300 jobs since 2000 while increasing output. Its plants now operate at over 100 percent capacity, and Ford employs around 66,000 staff including joint ventures.
Ford of Europe made a profit of $196 million in the first half excluding one-offs, but Fleming would not give a specific forecast for the third quarter or full year.
We said at the beginning of the year that we believe Ford of Europe will be profitable this year and we stick with that guidance, he said in a speech at the suppliers trade fair.
Ford, the number-two U.S. automaker, has already announced plans to cut 30,000 factory jobs and close 14 plants in North America by 2012. It said in July it would accelerate its turnaround efforts and reveal more cost cuts within two months.
Ford said sales of its Ford brand vehicles in 21 European countries including Russia and Turkey edged down 400 units in August to 95,300 vehicles. Year-to-date sales were up 17,000 units to nearly 1.14 million units, it said.
Ford of Europe earned $129 million in 2005.
Despite an unfavorable mix of vehicle sales and lower net pricing, Ford of Europe's second-quarter pretax profit excluding special items rose to $105 million from $66 million a year earlier thanks to lower material costs.