Volkswagen has an image problem. Hardly a politician in Berlin or Brussels touches a finger to help the automotive group – in determining the CO2Limits or other regulatory plans. Many dealers are angry, many holders, because VW has the dollar in the exhaust and is considered in the handling of emissions as the main burden.
But VW also has something missing from car manufacturers like Ford: the one size, the world markets. In addition, many, different brands, small cars, trucks and cars of the premium and luxury class. Therefore, the Wolfsburg, despite the diesel gate and billions of penalties and clearing figures are brilliant – Ford, however, so disturbing that now in Europe everything comes to the test.
The day the VW brand registered a new delivery record for 2018 with 6.24 million cars and proudly "the most successful year in the company's history", Ford Europe announced tough cuts . The works must be dismantled, at least one plant is closed, a series of models that do not generate enough profit, exhausted. The company will also have a completely new organizational structure in Europe.
Of the approximately 50,000 jobs "a considerable number will be eliminated," said Ford of Europe CEO Steven Armstrong. In Germany around 24,000 people work for Ford, most in Cologne. There are still discussions with the employee side in the individual locations, said Armstrong. Details should be available by mid-2019 at the latest.
The plant with its approximately 18,000 employees will currently be affected by the reduction. Because Armstrong clarified: "The cuts will come in all areas of business". They should therefore be socially acceptable, for example, partial retirement or severance indemnity.
Ford is significantly smaller than the competition
Outside of Germany, it is examining whether the Sollers joint venture has a future in Russia. The two administrative offices in the United Kingdom are grouped in one position. Ford's automobile production no longer exists on the island. By the end of last year, Ford had announced the closure of the gear factory in Bordeaux, France, and job cuts for the Saarlouis plant in the Saarland.
Among others, the Van C-Max was manufactured for many years in the second largest German town, this production should be discontinued in mid-2019. The reason is the decrease in demand for vans. The plant employs about 6,000 people. One of the three layers should be eliminated.
If Ford announces cuts, then they are always consistent and profound. The carmaker based in Dearborn, near Detroit, is smaller and more agile than the Volkswagen or General Motors (GM) tankers, which need continuous intervention until they change direction. This is an advantage of Ford, but also one of the main drawbacks of the US manufacturer, whose founder Henry Ford over a hundred years ago, the production of such refined assembly lines that became the standard in the production of automobiles.
Ford is significantly smaller than competitors such as the Volkswagen, GM, Toyota or the automotive alliance around Renault and Nissan with just over six million cars sold each year. Experts say it is too small to meet the challenges of this sector. Transfer to electric cars, autonomous vehicles, the "digital car".
Experts talk about the "automotive final game"
The necessary investments will devour many billions. For research and development, new production techniques, conversion of companies into new sectors of activity. And to mitigate job losses. Of the ten statistically employed employees to build a model with an internal combustion engine, only seven are needed for an electronic vehicle. Stromers are technically simpler.
US technology companies such as Apple, Google or Uber, which are flirting with the automotive industry, have the necessary capital for all of this: Volkswagen, Toyota, GM and the automakers of this championship may have it. All others in the industry, excluding premium manufacturers like Mercedes or BMW, tend to be overwhelmed. Experts talk about "automotive endgame". Only those with critical dimensions can survive. Ford does not have the opinion of some industry experts.
But Ford still lacks something globally – and the group has four other problems in Europe. The automaker is a mass producer that sells solid vehicles all over the world. But also mediocrity. The producers of this championship have become increasingly difficult for years. Cheap slopes, see Dacia. Or premium, see Mercedes. Who wants to survive in the middle, must be huge to have the costs under control and collect the necessary capital. Like Volkswagen has. And not Ford.
In the United States, Dearborner's business is still going well. The pick-up question is huge, and with the F-150, Ford has the class prankster. The missing in Europe, because the continent is not a collection market. And the other models, especially the sedans that Ford offers, are getting worse and worse. In the third quarter of 2018, Ford had lost $ 245 million in Europe after less than $ 192 million a year ago.
Ford with poor environmental balance
Also, in the near future, the looming Brexit, which is a particular challenge for Ford, because the island has always been the most important market in Europe. Even now, the weak pound hits the American producer particularly hard. And finally, with the connection of PSA and Opel, a competitor has grown, which is at least in the short term in a stronger position than the European daughter of the Americans.
The problem number four is probably the most important thing for Ford: the bad environmental record. In the development of electric cars, the Americans are late. And the average fuel consumption of the last fleet offered is alarmingly negative. According to an analysis of the CAM Autoinstitut, the Ford fleet in Europe achieved an average CO in 20172Emissions from new machines of 130.6 grams per kilometer. Only Fiat did worse, but Opel was a bit better. According to the EU regulation, in 2021 an average of 95 grams of CO2 be reached per kilometer. Impotence, like doing it at Opel, eventually led to the fact that GM sold the European branch and sold it to PSA.
Ford can not do it, the manufacturer has only two brands including Lincoln. In the 2008 crisis, the Americans had even mortgaged their logo, but to barely sell European businesses under the Ford brand. The car expert Ferdinand Dudenhöffer therefore believes that the US group is dividing European business. Commercial vehicles will be further developed after its acceptance in collaboration with another manufacturer, the car company will be managed. Greetings to Ford. On the contrary, they want to save and strengthen the business of the EU.
In fact, it is actually placed on three pillars, in a commercial vehicle, in a car and import division for Mustangs and the like. But all three should be feasible. "It is important to make significant progress in 2019." The goal is to return to profitability. Earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) should be at least 6% of revenues – "this is a competitive level for a company of our size in Europe," said Armstrong.
To go on with the e-cars, the electric versions and the new e-cars must be developed for all models. In collaboration with a new partner: Volkswagen. On Tuesday of next week, according to information from WELT on the sidelines of the Detroit Motorshow, a broad collaboration with Wolfsburg will be announced.
As a result, the two producers wish to cooperate in the construction and development of commercial and electric vehicles. Above all, VW and Ford are planning to collaborate on the construction of smaller commercial vehicles in order to save costs. According to VW CEO Herbert Diess both producers are too small, especially in vans to play a role all over the world. Together, R & D spending could be shared and the use of workload would be better.
This, according to previous information, provides a possibility in the partnership programmed with Ford to continue the Amarok pick-up "profitably". This would mean that the pickup could be manufactured by Ford in the future. This also led to the conversation that VW could use production capacity in the United States. Even the electric car designed for the US market must be manufactured there. However, this close collaboration is viewed critically by Ford.
However, this does not prevent Americans from exploring further forms of cooperation with Volkswagen. In electric cars, Ford is apparently interested in being able to produce based on the so-called Wolfsburg electric kit. It would be a far-reaching cooperation, which could eventually extend to the development of autonomous driving models. According to corporate circles, Ford is looking for investors for its subsidiary Argo, which develops autonomous car systems.