Ford Authority

Analysts Skeptical That Ford Europe Can Bounce Back

Ford Europe has been in the midst of a major transformation for some time now as the automaker continues to transition its entire passenger vehicle lineup in that region to non-entry-level all-electric vehicles, with seven new EV models due by 2024. Though ICE vehicles continue to sell well, Ford Europe remains committed to making this switch, which will also result in some major job reductions, as EVs require far less labor to produce, meaning that the Valencia Assembly plant in Spain will slash 1,100 jobs and the Cologne Assembly plant stands to cut around 1,000, both of which are part of a broader 3,800 region-wide reduction. Throw in the fact that dealers in Europe will soon be selling those vehicles at fixed prices, and some analysts are questioning Ford’s ability to bounce back there, according to Wards Auto.

This sentiment is nothing new, as some have recently questioned Ford’s future in Australia as well, though the automaker remains convinced that its strategy will in fact work. “We are completely reinventing the Ford brand in Europe. ‘Unapologetically American’ outstanding design and connected services…will differentiate Ford and delight our customers in Europe,” said Martin Sander, general manager of Ford Model e Europe. Regardless, not everyone is convinced.

“We have seen Ford’s passenger-car market share in Europe nearly halving from about 8 percent in 2011 to currently 4.6 percent, as Ford has gradually let itself be pushed into the low-price segment and therefore could not bring enough of its relatively good innovative power into its European cars,” said Stefan Bratzel, director of the Center of Automotive Management at the University of Applied Sciences in Bergisch Gladbach, Germany.

“Their second strategic mistake was that they have completely overslept the transition to EVs, as reflected by their first European-built EV being based on (Volkswagen’s) MEB platform, which means both value-added and competitive product differentiation will be very low,” Bratzel added. He isn’t alone either, as some are questioning just how receptive Europeans will be to vehicles that don’t necessarily cater to that particular market.

Ford EV

“Designing cars in the U.S. that sell well in the European market might work for Tesla, but Ford is too weak to compete with VW and Stellantis, with the ongoing entry of several strong Chinese EV brands boding ill additionally,” said Ferdinand Dudenhoeffer, a professor at the Center for Automotive Research at the University of Duisburg-Essen in Germany. “It will struggle to catch up. It is very likely that Ford will give up European-based passenger car production to ultimately become a pure importer.”

We’ll have more on Ford Europe soon, so be sure and subscribe to Ford Authority for 24/7 Ford news coverage.

Brett's lost track of all the Fords he's owned over the years and how much he's spent modifying them, but his current money pits include an S550 Mustang and 13th gen F-150.

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  1. Thomas

    Other car manufacturers boast of new models
    and Ford boasts that it is recalling models and closing factories.
    Who manages this company?
    With this attitude, I say goodbye to Ford in Europe

  2. JW

    Ford has been very sucessful in the UK with its own product line up. Historically, when ford have brought in a US vehicle it has flopped. Edge, Mustang, mk4 mondeo have all been failures for various reasons. The models that do well here are designed for here. Focus, fiesta, RS, XR, ST lines etc. I’m far from convinced this strategy is going to work.

  3. RWFA

    “Their second strategic mistake was that they have completely overslept the transition to EVs, as reflected by their first European-built EV being based on (Volkswagen’s) MEB platform, which means both value-added and competitive product differentiation will be very low,” Bratzel added.

    Overslept? Ford is essentially going to be the 2nd volume BEV producer after VW.

    Does this dude realize that the MQB solution was Ford’s move to get a BEV jump on every big OEM but VW?

    MQB will be a 1 generation platform replaced by a Ford developed platform after one cycle.

    When Ford’d PD resources were already strained developing 1G PT solutions for Lightning, eTransit, and Mach-E, MQB helped ford get quickly into the BEV game and a leg up on other Eu competitors, with minimized BEV PT development expense.

    This dude kind of reminds me of the “expert” that papers used to quote from Cardiff University.

    A generation ago he predicted that BMW would never make money on the mini.

    Mr Pretzel must be his spiritual descendant.

    1. David Dickinson II

      I don’t agree with him either, and I wonder how much of it is a bias against the Americans to help his native automakers. I wouldn’t put any stock in what analysts say about the EV market over the next 2-3 years. There are going to be rapid changes to the landscape that nobody can predict. These will be interesting automotive times.

      1. RWFA


        His bias may stem more from consulting or educational contracts he or his employer have with those OEMs.

    2. Mike says...

      Really…. you sound more like a ‘pretzel’ RWFA.
      The article may not support mindless cheerleading of Ford and yes, I want to hope he is dead wrong on some of his positions…. but they are not without consideration.
      Everything Ford appears to be doing is so focused on cost containment that other needs/problems are being kicked down the road.
      Ford is suffering the death of a thousand cuts.
      It is difficult to believe that the whole BEV transition will relaunch the companies fortunes on its own.

  4. Bruce Holberg

    Do some research. Through three quarters of 2022, Ford (KUGA) was #7 in EVs in Europe trailing everyone except Dacia, Hyundai and Kia. They are in quite a hole.


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