Ford’s Europe sales rise 10% in January

Michael Martinez
The Detroit News

Ford Motor Co. said Friday that its sales in Europe rose about 10 percent in January for its best January in four years.

Ford said it plans to launch seven new and refreshed vehicles in Europe during 2016, including the new Kuga and Edge SUVs, Focus RS performance car, new powertrain and technologies for Transit Custom and Transit 2-ton, and a freshened Ranger pickup.

The Dearborn automaker sold 96,900 vehicles in its 20 traditional European markets last month, outpacing the industry’s growth by 3 percent. Ford market share increased by 0.2 percentage points to 7.9 percent.

“The European auto industry is off to a very strong start and Ford was able to outpace this growth thanks largely to demand for our SUVs, commercial vehicles and performance vehicles,” Roelant de Waard, vice president, marketing, sales and service, Ford of Europe, said in a statement. “Importantly, we gained share by selling to retail customers while many others in industry are using self-registration and rentals sales extensively.”

SUV sales continued to drive Ford’s performance in Europe. Sales of the Ecosport compact utility rose 50 percent and Kuga midsize SUV sales rose 19 percent, Ford said. The company expects its SUV sales to grow by about 30 percent in 2016 compared with 2015, and to break the 200,000 vehicles sold mark for the first time in Europe.

Sales of Ford Performance vehicles – including the Fiesta ST, Focus ST and Focus ST diesel, and Mustang – almost tripled from a year ago. As Ford adds new models, it expects about 40,000 Ford performance cars are likely to be sold this year.

Ford’s commercial vehicle sales rose 7 percent for its best January since 2008 thanks to vehicles like the Transit vans and Ranger pickup.

The company said it plans to launch seven new and refreshed vehicles in Europe during 2016, including the new Kuga and Edge SUVs, Focus RS performance car, new powertrain and technologies for Transit Custom and Transit 2-ton, and a freshened Ranger pickup.

Ford made $259 million in Europe in 2015 for its first profit in the region since 2011. It announced earlier this month that it’s planning additional restructuring there, including hundreds of buyout offers for salaried employees, and said it would phase out less profitable vehicles over time.

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