It was on January 1 that Mike Flewitt took on the job as Ford Motor Co.'s head of manufacturing in Europe but he is now leaving his job after only five months. Flewitt, an Englishman, will be replaced as of June 1. He will be succeeded by 52-year-old Jeff Wood, an American. Wood has been named the director of manufacturing for Ford's North America vehicle assembly operations.
Ford said via a statement that 50-year-old Flewitt has left to “pursue other career interests." According to a report by Automotive News Europe, Flewitt has gone back to the UK from Ford’s European headquarters in Cologne, Germany. Ford was affected by the industrywide decline in the European car market. Ford is being pressured to cut manufacturing costs as it aims for its European operations to post profits once again.
Ford of Europe posted a pre-tax loss of $149 million during the first quarter. Ford has decided to reduce the working days at its facilities in Valencia, Spain, and Cologne, Germany. It has also decided to reduce its daily production rates at its factory in Saarlouis, Germany.
Flewitt followed Ken Macfarlane, Ford of Europe's manufacturing chief since December 2008, when he retired. Before serving as manufacturing boss, Flewitt worked as Ford's European vehicle operations chief.
In 1983, he began his career as a trainee at Ford's factory in Halewood, England. Weeks ago, Ford of Europe CEO Stephen Odell informed Bloomberg that Ford will look at the need to "right-size" its production capacity if the European market continues to decline. Odell said that Ford's European production in the second quarter will be 65,000 vehicles lower than the previous year, equivalent to a 15% drop. Ford said that the European market will decrease this year to around 14 million vehicles, compared to 15.3 million in 2011. Ford anticipates getting a "broadly flat" share of 8.3%.