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COLOGNE, FRG (Reuters) -- Ford Motor Co. intends to contend for purchasers with premium automakers because it offers high-end versions of its mass-market models during a bid to finish years of losses in Europe.

At the company's European headquarters, executives ar assured they will persuade drivers to pay a lot of for existing models upgraded with animal skin interiors, chrome moldings and top-notch client service prepackaged underneath a replacement label, Vignale. however with most of its rivals chasing an equivalent affluent consumers, the maneuver is fraught with risk and there is also few winners.

"I doubt that mass-market makers ar ready to generate sizeable volume within the premium section," aforementioned Beantown Consulting cluster senior partner Nikolaus Lang. "Penetrating the eu premium market is hard."

Fiat Chrysler cars chief executive officer Sergio Marchionne, United Nations agency himself is increasing his automaker’s Alfa Romeo and Maserati brands in a trial to extend profit margins, is additionally skeptical of moves to require thought brands upmarket .

"Those wholes that ar between a mass-market and a premium brand do not have legs," the manager told investors on might six.

Europe losses

Success with the move might facilitate Ford reach sturdy profitableness in Europe, that is rising from six years of slumping sales. The automaker has not created cash within the region since 2010.

Ford's European sales might soar by twenty five % to one.65 million cars by 2020, in step with analysis firm IHS Automotive, because it churns out a minimum of twenty five new or upgraded models by 2017.

That, however, might count for small if it cannot raise costs.

Through April, Ford's European market share has bounced back to seven.5 % from seven.2 percent, because the car manufacturer sold-out eleven % a lot of vehicles in Europe within the amount compared with last year, in step with knowledge from business association ACEA.

But this was doubtless attributable to the larger discounts offered by the car manufacturer than its rivals. "Prices ar still as competitive as they were within the worst of times," Ford of Europe sales chief Roelant Diamond State Waard aforementioned.

The car manufacturer has spent years finding out a premium formula that works in Europe's ferociously competitive automobile market, a method that saw it strive against and later jettison European luxury carmakers Volvo and Felis onca.

This time it's that specialize in its own whole because it targets a lot of affluent Ford consumers and drivers considering their initial purchase of a high-end automobile. It additionally has customers of German premium brands BMW, Audi and Mercedes-Benz in its sights.

"People assume it might be terribly arduous to sell to them however that is not the case," Diamond State Waard told Reuters, stating that one in six homeowners of Ford's S-Max antecedently drove a German luxury automobile.

Ford also will begin marketing its picture pony sports automobile in Europe in 2015 and doesn't rule out introducing the upmarket Lincoln whole at a later stage.

Ford of Europe chief executive officer writer Odell aforementioned the automaker was heading in the right direction to come to profit in 2015, however the whole must develop additional.

"It's a giant risk if you assume that you just cannot do something," he told Reuters at the company's regional headquarters in Cologne. "If you assume that each one you are going to try and do is be squeezed, then it is a downside."

PSA, Renault, Fiat

Ford isn't alone in its upmarket ambitions. French rival PSA/Peugeot-Citroen is a lot of advanced in launching its DS name, that chief executive officer Salim Tavares plans to break free the Citroen whole.

Renault can debut the new Initiale Paris high-end line with the next-generation Espace auto when giving a thought version eventually September's Frankfurt motorcar show.

Meanwhile, those high-volume carmakers are being squeezed during a downmarket  growth by luxury rivals, with a push into compact cars by Daimler's Mercedes-Benz and Audi.

Ford, however, believes the Vignale label will enhance the charm of cars like the Mondeo mid-sized sedan and also the S-Max giant auto because it overhauls its European model lineup. A revamped Mondeo is predicted by the top of 2014.

The strategy is tangled with a goal to extend Ford's share of sales to retail and company-fleet consumers, United Nations agency usually order cars at higher costs, whereas edge reliance on less profitable sales to rental-car corporations -- although that means a loss of market share.

Customer lounges

To differentiate Vignales from cars made on an equivalent production lines as cheaper versions, Ford can came upon special client lounges at five hundred of its a pair of,400 European dealerships. Those dealers can hold exclusive rights to sell Vignale-badged cars.

Marketing strategy at Ford has shifted too, with company ending its support of UEFA Champions League football when twenty one years.

The league brought the whole to three hundred million TV and on-line viewers in additional than two hundred countries, however its focus has shifted to business-minded, tech-focused consumers that it'll hunt down victimization digital media and support of technology fairs. "Ford does not want a lot of awareness," aforementioned Odell. "We have to be compelled to communicate the worth of Ford."
Julia May 27 '14 · Tags: cars, ford, auto, europe, s-max

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