Ford Motor Co. expects its production in Europe to increase 6 percent year-on-year in the second quarter of 2013 to 390,000 units. The carmaker built around 386,000 vehicles in the first quarter of 2013, around 8 percent lower than that of the same period in 2012. Ford also expects its production in North America to continue to surge, climbing 9 percent year-on-year to 800,000 units.
The carmaker’s North American production grew 16 percent year-on-year in the first three months of 2013 to 784,000 units. Ford’s forecasts came as it released its results for the first quarter of the year. According to the carmaker, its record North American pretax profits drove it to post $1.61 billion in first-quarter global net profit, reflecting a 15-percent rise over the same period in 2012.
The carmaker’s first-quarter revenues also went up 10 percent. The surge in its North American profits reflects the carmaker’s efforts over the last year to increase its capacity by 400,000 units to its plants in the region, mainly through additional shifts.
However, Ford’s move to increase output in Europe drew questions from analysts during a conference call with senior Ford executives – as the vehicle market in region continues to shrink every month. European automakers association ACEA said car sales in the region dropped 10 percent in March 2013 for the 18th straight dive. Vehicle sales in Germany, particularly, slid 17 percent in the month, the worst among the five largest European markets.
Ford executives defended the plan to increase production in Europe. Ford chief financial officer Bob Shanks said that dealer stocks “are in great shape" in Europe, which is in the "low-40 days supply range.” Ford of Europe chief executive Stephen Odell remarked that after months of cutting dealer inventory, they are now “getting dealers pressing” for more units. He noted that Ford added 8,000 units of Kuga production to the schedule "because dealers want to sell more.”