Ford’s US designs to move into other markets

Ford will look to build more on its American heritage with its future European line-up, according to the firm’s European boss.

Ford is the only mainstream American-owned manufacturer still operating in the European market, and European boss Stuart Rowley said that gave it a point of differentiation from rivals. Major rival Holden quit Australia last year though it now has GMSV as a replacement, with US-centric vehicles like the Chevrolet Silverado and Corvette Stingray – will Ford expand a US-sourced model lineup here which starts already with the Mustang?

Ford’s product range has changed substantially in recent years, with the new Puma crossover now the hot model and the Fiesta and Focus shrinking, and the firm recently announcing it was axing the Mondeo.

“You’re seeing the Ford portfolio change in Europe as we make the shift and grow further in utilities [SUVs],” said Rowley during the FT Future of the Car conference. “Going forward we’ll have a more differentiated, more opinionated portfolio of passenger vehicles, that will all be electrified and we’ll build experiences around them.”

Rowley highlights the success of the Mustang, which Ford reintroduced to Australia half a decade ago, and which has now been expanded overseas into a sub-brand encompassing the muscle car and the Mustang Mach-E electric SUV.

Rowley added: “We launched the Ford Explorer [in select markets], and it’s selling well. It’s a different product; it’s not for everybody but there are consumers who love that.

“Ford is the only American brand in Europe now and that’s a unique position that we can build upon. A lot of people are attracted to some of those characteristics and only Ford can bring products like that to the market.”

Rowley also highlighted the success of the Ranger Raptor performance pick-up, saying: “Who would have thought that would resonate with European customers?”

It has certainly done very well in Australia, too. But what of the Bronco, which is so far not confirmed for right-hand drive production?

The Bronco could also reach the UK – a RHD market – if Ford offered it as a fully electric model. While the firm has officially announced no plans to do so, when a Twitter user recently asked Ford CEO Jim Farley why it didn’t have an electric Bronco under development, he replied: “Why do you think we don’t?”

James Attwood

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