Ford ‘comfortable’ with current sales forecasts

Ford ‘comfortable’ with current sales forecasts

Frankfurt: US auto giant Ford is sticking to its forecast for industry-wide sales of around 15 million vehicles in western Europe this year, despite the difficult environment, Ford Europe chief Stephen Odell said Tuesday.

“We’re still comfortable with our full-year forecasts of between 14.8-15.3 million vehicles for the full year, probably with a weaker second half than the first half," Odell told reporters at the IAA motor show, when asked what about the possible effects the ongoing euro zone debt crisis might have on auto industry as a whole.

The figure represented what Ford is projecting all car makers to sell in western Europe in the current year.

In its traditional 19 European markets, Ford said its sales rose by 19.3% to 17,200 vehicles in August, giving it the best-ever market share in that month of 8.2%.

“We had a very strong August sales compared with a year ago and compared with the rest of the industry," Odell said.

“The economy remains very challenging and consumers are jittery -- particularly in the euro zone -- but we remain optimistic."

Ford had noticed that consumer confidence had “obviously come off" recently, but it was “still OK in some markets," the Ford Europe chief said.

Odell said he was wary of making any concrete forecasts for next year, given the huge question marks posed by the euro zone debt crisis.

The situation was “so volatile, so difficult to predict," he said.

“My request to politicians is that even if the medicine is painful... we need to apply it quickly and robustly so we can have a sustainable base," not just for the auto industry, but for the global economy as a whole, Odell said.