Ford Motor Co. is optimistic that it will sell a sufficient number of Focus compact cars in Europe to attain full capacity in 2011 at a German factory that is producing the new version of the model.
This will enable Ford to stop a decrease in its market share in the region. Bernhard Mattes, who manages Ford's German factories, said that the output of the Focus is likely to reach the daily maximum of 1,850 cars by the end of January.
The Focus has started production last Monday at the Saarlouis plant, which is expected to be the lone source for new Focus production in western Europe.
This plant builds all three body styles: a four-door, five-door and station wagon. Mattes said that the car may start selling in Germany this March and in the second quarter, it will start to be offered in other major European markets. The third-generation Focus will feature driver aids such as parking- and lane-assistance software.
Ford said that the current Focus, its second-best-selling model in the region after the Fiesta, saw 10-month sales fall by 14% to 220,400 in 19 European countries.
Ford also said that it expects 2010 European sales throughout the industry to drop to 14 million vehicles. Ford added that the new Focus, which shares about 80% of its parts globally, will be made available in 120 markets throughout the world. [via autonews - sub. required]