Ford Motor Company suffered five times the losses in 2000 than in the previous year, with a drop in turnover and sales compounding the bad news.
Figures released today for 2000 show a loss on ordinary activities after taxation of £636m last year, compared with a loss of £119m in 1999. Turnover was down from £6,292m in 1999, to £5,694m in 2000. The loss incurred in 2000, Ford says, was largely due to the actions taken during the year to restructure the company and as it works to return Ford's UK operations to long-term profitability.
The costliest part of the restructuring was a one-off charge of £345m as part of the European Transformation Strategy, with the remaining losses a result of reduced Escort and Fiesta production and the one-off cost of the new Transit launch.
However, Ford retained UK market leadership for the 24th consecutive year. In the third largest new car sales market on record, Ford achieved a market share of 16.8% or 374,342 new car sales. This total was 13,643 down on the previous year. Total Ford light and medium commercial vehicle sales were 74,998 or 31.4% of the market. Last year marked the 22nd successive year of Ford leadership in the light commercial vehicle market and the 35th consecutive year in the medium sector. In total, Ford sold 449,340 vehicles (new cars and new commercial vehicles) in the UK in 2000.
"The costs in the UK associated with the implementation of Ford's European Transformation Strategy – including the decision to cease Ford Fiesta production at Dagenham from the first quarter of 2002 – plus other one-off costs made 2000 a difficult year for Ford in the UK," said Ian McAllister, Ford Motor Company chairman and managing director.
"While the outlook for 2001 is that the market will remain extremely competitive, I am upbeat about our prospects. Ford intends to maintain market leadership in Britain in new car and commercial vehicle sales in 2001 and to build upon our almost 100 years of success in the British market.
"The groundwork established in 2000 to restructure operations in Britain will create a more efficient and leaner business. Our sales in the British market will be product led, with Ford now offering its best ever vehicle line-up to British buyers. It is our objective to return to a profitable position in Britain at the earliest opportunity."
Mr McAllister said that in the five years from 2000 to 2005, Ford will treble its output of new products with a total of 45 new product actions including the launch of the all-new Ford Fiesta due in the spring of 2002.
Production of vehicles in the company's plants amounted to 265,577 units, compared with 375,442 the previous year. This decline was the result of reduced production of the Fiesta and Escort models in the Dagenham and Halewood plants. The Ford Southampton plant, home of the Ford Transit', built 64,460 Ford Transit models in 2000, and following an investment of over £200 million, is manufacturing both front and rear- wheel-drive versions of the popular all-new Transit.