An entire industry in a celebratory mood, record sales, sparkling profits and satisfied shareholders. Only the numerous managers of the Geneva Motor Show arrived Ford-Hausausweis can not be really happy. The US giant does not get going in Europe, writing heavy losses and still searching for the light at the end of the company's crisis tunnel. "We just need patience," reassures Jim Farley, forcing a determined smile. The 52-year-old American is a kind of firefighter who was sent from Detroit to the European headquarters in Cologne. Since the beginning of January, he is the president of Ford Europe and by the way also for Africa and the Middle East.
Previously, Farley was responsible for Ford's worldwide marketing. A flawless sales professional, therefore, who is to make legs limping the limping colossus. "We have the most modern model range in Ford history," he says, referring to Fiesta, Focus and Co., calls the recently with a long delay finally released big Mondeo, the new elegant S-Max and puts great hope in the sporty models Like the powerful Allradler Focus RS with 235 kW / 320 PS: "The love of powerful cars is in our blood," he enthuses and announces that the supply of athletes with the acronym RS to 2020 will be increased to a mere dozen. In addition, the iconic Mustang and the 600-PS-Renner GT shown in Geneva to be the two spearheads. "Half a million users have already configured the Mustang on the Internet," he reports. From summer, the coupe and the convertible are sold and offer with a price of around 40.000 Euro by far the cheapest way to put an eight-cylinder (5 liter displacement, 313 kW / 426 PS) in the garage.
But Jim Farley is also clear that the clientele for sports cars and well-equipped everyday cars far too small to steer the staggering Ford ship in the direction of the longed for black numbers. "We have to follow the current trends more closely than before," he admits and puts together a list of what Ford must offer as soon as possible in Europe: "Most important is a crossover," says Farley, meaning the compact intersection of station wagon, SUV and recreational vehicle, which is currently fully in the focus of customers. "There we have a duty to develop such a car for the world market". Farley admits that both the small B-Max and the mini SUV Ecosport fell short of expectations. "The B-Max with its ingenious door concept without B-pillar suffers from the decline in interest for spacious family vans," he says. To breathe new life into the angular ecosport imported from Brazil, the new president refers to a facelift, the result of which can also be viewed in Geneva. The outside mounted spare wheel on the rear door disappears, the interior is nobler and improves the performance of the engines ".
On Farley's list of priorities are also still a city car as it offers, for example, VW with the Up, a mobility concept for the big cities modeled on Daimler's Car2go or BMW "Drive Now" and a small, preferably exhaust-free city van, with the retailers in the coming environmental zones of city centers can be supplied. "We will focus more on the area of city centers, we have to offer our customers solutions here".
Frankly and completely unconcerned, the American also takes a stand on questions outside his sphere of influence. So he pleads violently for a stay of England in the EU and for a quick end of the ice age between the US and Russia. Because one of the reasons for the high Ford losses in Europe is the sales slump in Russia. "Inflation resulting from EU and US sanctions has made our cars' prices priceless," complains Farley, and sees no recovery this year.
The world is full of coincidences. Shortly before Jim Farley's appearance at the Geneva hotel "President Wilson", US Secretary of State John Kerry and his Russian adversary Sergei Lavrov met in the same place to discuss the Ukraine conflict again. The new European president has not met his compatriot but reports respectfully. "The many heavily armed security guards were really hard to miss."
Author: Peter Maahn / SP-X