Ford to increase production at two German plants

Michael Martinez
The Detroit News

Ford Motor Co. will increase production of some of its best-selling European vehicles at two German plants to meet growing demand, the automaker said Friday.

Starting next week, Ford’s Saarlouis Body & Assembly Plant will increase production of its Focus, C-Max and Grand C-Max by 240 vehicles a day, and in February its Cologne plant will increase production of its Fiesta by 300 vehicles a day. In addition, six additional weekend shifts have been scheduled in January and February at the Cologne plant.

“We are ramping up production of some of our top-selling models to meet growing demand from Ford customers as well as the normal industry sales increase in the first half of the year,” Jeff Wood, vice president of manufacturing for Ford of Europe, said in a statement.

The Fiesta is Ford’s best-selling vehicle in Europe, and is on-track to become Europe’s best-selling small car for 2014 for the third successive year, Ford said. The Focus and C-MAX are Ford’s second and third best-selling vehicles in Europe.

Last week, Ford reported it sold 1.16 million vehicles in its 20 main European markets, a 7.3 percent increase over 2013. The Dearborn automaker outpaced the overall industry sales growth, which rose 5.5 percent. Its market share rose by 0.2 percentage points to 8.0 percent last year, its highest mark since 2011, and it retained its position as the No. 2 best-selling European brand.

Ford expects to lose $1.2 billion in Europe in 2014 and is in the midst of a turnaround plan that has involved shedding jobs, reducing volume, closing plants and introducing new products.

Ford is launching a new Focus and Mondeo, and this year will add a new Focus ST and a diesel version, new Mustang, S-Max, C-Max and Grand C-Max, and refreshed versions of EcoSport, Ranger, Transit Connect and Tourneo Connect.

The automaker forecasts a $250 million loss in Europe in 2015, after previously predicting to turn a profit there this year.

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