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Ford: Return to Profitability in Europe by 2015

March 5, 2013
European chief anticipates 'very slow recovery curve, and probably some blips.'

GENEVA -- The European car market still has a long, bumpy road ahead before it can hope to again see sales numbers approaching the pre-crisis glory days, Ford's European chief said Tuesday.

"I don't see us getting to the 17 to 18 million units that we were running in 2007 probably for the next four to five years," Stephen Odell told reporters on the first day of the International Geneva Motor Show.

For this year, Ford (IW 500/6) expects the European market as a whole to see between 13 and 14 million new car sales, after 14 million vehicles were sold on the continent in 2012.

"I think we're in for a very slow recovery curve, and probably some blips," Odell said.

The U.S. carmaker has been accumulating losses in the region for years, just like its compatriot General Motors (IW 500/4) and European competitors such as Renault, Peugeot-PSA and Fiat.

Ford has already warned that it will suffer a loss of $2 billion this year, after bathing $1.75 billion in the red in 2012.

But Odell stressed Tuesday that the expected loss this year is "different in nature than 2012," since it is partially due to the pending closure of two plants in Britain and one in Belgium, which will leave 6,200 people out of work.

Asked by AFP whether more restructuring plans were on the horizon, Odell insisted that "we don't have any such plans at this point."

However, he acknowledged, "Given the dynamic nature of the market, we will continue to look and decide what we have to do."

He reiterated that the carmaker expects to see its European activities return to profitability by 2015.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2013

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