Odell said Ford is happy with its production capacity position in Europe which he feels is right for prevailing market conditions and amid a very modest recovery to car sales across the region

Odell said Ford is happy with its production capacity position in Europe which he feels is right for prevailing market conditions and amid a 'very modest recovery' to car sales across the region

Ford Europe President Stephen Odell has told just-auto that Ford is happy with its production capacity position in Europe, which he feels is right for prevailing market conditions and amid a 'very modest recovery' to car sales across the region.

"By the first quarter of next year we will have reduced our installed capacity in Europe by about 18% or 355,000 vehicles," he said.

"On top of that we have adjusted our manning levels in Romania, we have struck a really good agreement in Germany to build the next Fiesta on two shifts and in Russia we have reduced our manning levels this year by about 1,500 people. So we're rightsizing our business in Europe."

Odell believes that Ford is taking the right actions given the demand picture in Europe. "At the moment we're in a very modest recovery phase," he said. "And we can revisit that if the situation were to change."

He said that Ford's analysis of September sales across the region points to continued modest recovery, with sales above year-ago levels but still well below pre-crisis levels.

"Unemployment remains a key economic statistic," Odell said. "Unemployment in the eurozone area is around 10%. It remains very high in parts of Europe - youth unemployment in Spain, for example - and while that is the case, demand for new cars is constrained.

"We have to position ourselves for prevailing market conditions and be ready to adjust for changes. Our aggressive roll-out of new product is a part of that, too - presenting a healthy business and a competitive one."

Odell also said that Ford's current rate of capacity utilisation in Europe is over 80%.