U.S. carmaker Ford is expected to post strong results in 2014 - but has been struggling in a competitive European environment. As Ciara Lee reports, its new head of its EMEA division, Jim Farley, is on a mission to turn that around.
It's one of the world's largest car companies - but Ford Motor Company is not getting a smooth ride everywhere. In a bid to crack the tough European market, two of its top executives have switched positions. Previous head of global marketing, Jim Farley is now chief for Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The company is expected to post strong results for 2014. But Ford's EMEA operations have been losing money for years in an austerity-scarred market, and Farley has his work cut out. Tim Urquhart is from IHS Automotive. (SOUNDBITE) TIM URQUHART, PRINCIPAL ANALYST IHS AUTOMOTIVE SAYING: "I call it the squeezed middle really. That's the mid-market manufacturers operating in the European market. They're all suffering from lots of competition. Not only between themselves, the likes of Renault, PSA, GM, OPEL and Vauxhall, they're all fighting in the same market space as Ford.'' Another challenge: premium manufacturers are moving into the territory previously the preserve of Ford. (SOUNDBITE) TIM URQUHART, PRINCIPAL ANALYST IHS AUTOMOTIVE SAYING: ''The likes of Mercedes, BMW, Audi are developing small cars to move into their market space. It's very hard for them to make their product stand out and be individualistic, despite the fact that Ford are probably making the best range of cars it has ever made." In the past two decades, German luxury brands BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi have taken the lead in American luxury car sales, along with Toyota's Lexus. The European auto scene is struggling to emerge from its worst downturn in two decades and Ford has not made money in the region since 2010. (SOUNDBITE) TIM URQUHART, PRINCIPAL ANALYST IHS AUTOMOTIVE SAYING: "We certainly don't see the market getting back to pre-recession levels any time this decade and it looks pretty uncertain going into the early years of next decade." Last year Ford continued to lose money in Europe and in South America, while being profitable in Asia and North America. It's introducing 25 new models in Europe over the next five years, and hoping that fresh managerial eyes on the area's operations will accelerate revenue.