Ford Shifts EU Plans, Focus on Electrification

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Despite multiple setbacks to its European business, Ford Motor Co. is determined to remain steadfast in its effort to return to profitability and stay the course on its $11 billion spending plan.

The car manufacturer said Wednesday that it will introduce four plug-in hybrids and two battery-powered models across Europe. One will be a compact SUV, named the Puma, that features a hybrid powertrain. It will also revamp the Kuga, which is the European version of the Escape.

Steven Armstrong, the Europe Chairman for Ford, told reporters that the company is staying in the market; with eyes focused to what is to come.

“Ford in Europe isn’t going anywhere but forward,” Armstrong said. “This is Ford re-engineering itself for an excited connected future and making electrification relevant to millions.”

The electrification expansion for the automaker has lagged in recent years. Ford, as well as General Motors, have both struggled to move into the European market as Volkswagen and Renault are more established in the region.

Ford announced last month that it was going to move out of the Russian market and close three of its plants there. It also announced that it will cut 5,000 jobs in Germany, which may then result in more plant closures, which follows on the heals of closing its transmission plant in France. In recent years Ford has sold Jaguar and Land Rover to Tata Motors, transferred Volvo over to Geely Automobile Holdings, and sold Ashton Martin. GM followed suit by selling Opel and Vauxhall to PSA Group.

Armstrong outlined that the plan for the future is to continues its investment in electric cars, globally. It has set its margins at 6% in Europe, versus 8% globally.

He added that the company would begin to work with Volkswagen on vans, a segment of the market where Ford leads, and added that the company was having internal discussions about how to move forward in England depending on the Brexit outcome.