AM Online

Earlier launches in Ford fight back

Ford of Europe, reinvigorated by new chairman Nick Scheele, has started the fight to claw back 200,000 missing European sales.

Its market share has slipped by three percentage points to 9.4% and the immediate target is 10% (around 1.7m registrations).

Mr Scheele has ordered the launch of the all-new Fiesta to be pulled forward to November from mid-2001 and he wants the next Mondeo, scheduled for late 2000, to be at least a few weeks earlier.

Ford would release nine new products a year for the next five years, up from the current three model launches a year. Earl Hesterberg, previously running a Toyota dealer group in the US, was recruited by Mr Scheele as Ford of Europe marketing, sales and service boss.

A the Geneva motor show he said the missing sales would be recovered in part by a number of new niche models but Ford has scrapped the MAV (multi activity vehicle) based on the Focus platform (revealed by AM, February 4).

Mr Hesterberg said the next Ka would be different from the current model, which he described as “gold for Ford, with 70% conquest sales”.

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