Ford Motor Co. (F:US) expects its European unit to turn a full-year profit in 2015, the automaker’s regional chief said today.
“We are at bottom,” Stephen Odell, the company’s European head, told reporters attending the Frankfurt Motor Show. “There are no major signs of uptick but it does feel like we’re running along the bottom.” Odell provided the 2015 date in response to a reporter’s question.
Ford and General Motors Co. (GM:US), the two largest U.S. automakers, are working to break even in Europe by mid-decade as the industry weathers a six-year decline in the region’s auto market. European first-half car sales fell 6.7 percent to 6.44 million vehicles, according to the Brussels-based ACEA industry group.
Ford’s sales in Europe rose 7 percent to $7.6 billion in the second quarter. That helped boost Ford’s market share to about 8.1 percent from 7.6 percent a year earlier, the company said in a slide presentation for its second-quarter financial results issued July 24.
Reviving the company’s European unit is one of Chief Executive Officer Alan Mulally’s main challenges. Dearborn, Michigan-based Ford depends on its profitable North American operations to make up for losses in Europe, which totaled $810 million in the year’s first half.
The automaker in July narrowed its loss forecast for Europe to about $1.8 billion from $2 billion. In 2012, it reported a loss of $1.75 billion.
Auto sales in western Europe fell 5.3 percent last month, according to researcher LMC Automotive. LMC forecasts sales of 11.4 million in the region this year, a 3.2 percent decline from last year and a 16 percent slide from 2008.
The ACEA is scheduled to report figures for July and August registrations Sept. 17.
Ford has closed an assembly plant and a stamping and tooling facility in England and plans to shut its Genk, Belgium, assembly plant by 2014. The moves will reduce Ford’s annual production capacity by about 350,000 vehicles, or 18 percent, Odell said in July.
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