© Het Belang van Limburg – www.hbvl.be

Ford Genk has sustained a considerable backlog of production for the last weeks. Therefore,
the launch of the new Ford Mondeo is postponed by more than a month. Last weekend,
the dealers were notified of the postponement until the weekend of 13 and 14 January
2001. Ford has confirmed the news. Dealers from the province of Limburg reacted
disappointed to the delay. According to Ford, the backlog is mainly due to the
floods in Great Britain.

The delay of the launch of the Mondeo arrives at a very bad time for Ford.
After heavy loss-making sales figures earlier this year, Ford decided to advance
the assembly of the new Mondeo. This should have enabled Ford to have the official
dealer launch this year. The new Ford management team is counting on the Mondeo
to make the second largest car manufacturer profitable again.

In Genk a lot of effort was made to advance the start of the production to
2 October. In vain, it now appears. The launch, initially foreseen for the weekend
of 9 and 10 December is postponed by at least five weeks. According to Ford
because there are insufficient cars. To launch the Mondeo in a fashioned way,
each dealer should have at least one or more cars in the showroom. For Belgium,
500 vehicles are foreseen, for Great Britain 3,000 and for Germany 4,000. Since
these numbers aren#;t achieved, Ford has decided to postpone the launch.
In Germany, the Mondeo should have been in the showroom last month. Ford says
that also in other countries the Mondeo will be launched at a later date.

The dealers – who got to know the Mondeo this Tuesday and Wednesday – are not
happy with the delay. Most of them have spent a lot of time and money in the
launch weekend, it is the event of the year. Invitations were sent to the customers,
events were organised, deals were made, advertising space was bought in newspapers
and magazines, radio commercials … This is a serious fall-back, although
understandable. All these events are cancelled now and customers who have ordered
a Mondeo and are eagerly awaiting its delivery will have to wait another month.
Some customers cannot wait any longer, others have paid an advance or even the
full amount.

Some weeks ago, there was already a backlog of more than 2,000 vehicles. To
get rid of this backlog, Ford Genk will work for two weekends in a row. Last
week, the supply of the axes for the front suspension halted because the plant
in England was hit by floods. More bad news for Ford Genk as British Unions
vote for a possible strike in Dagenham at the end of November. If there is a
strike in Dagenham, the supply of parts in entire Europe may well suffer.

Author: Dave Mathijs