Last year Ford of Europe’s head of IT, Bill Fairclough, stated that the company would be concentrating on service levels, critical systems and security controls. The business focus was on cost and IT was focusing on simplification and consolidation of its infrastructure and systems.
Ford of Europe’s parent company had a pretty dreadful year, reporting a net loss of $12.7 billion, although both Europe and South America were profitable and, in Europe, Ford’s S-Max was named European Car of the Year. Its financial services arm reported pre-tax profits of more than $1.9bn.
“We began aggressive actions in 2006 to restructure our automotive business so we can operate profitably at lower volumes and with a product mix that better reflects consumer demand for smaller, more fuel efficient vehicles,” stated Alan Mulally, Ford’s president and chief executive officer at the results presentation.
“We fully recognise our business reality and are dealing with it. We have a plan and we are on track to deliver.”
Ford of Europe’s continued streamlining and sales efforts seem to be having a positive effect with it posting a pre-tax profit of $469 million, an improvement of $396m from a year ago. Sales for the year totalled $30.4bn, compared to $29.9bn in 2005. The company has sold off one of its iconic Premier Automotive Group brands, Aston Martin, to a UK consortium led by Prodrive boss Dave Richards in a $479m deal as it tried to stem losses.
But its European fortunes seem relatively strong with sales increasing by volume and the market in Eastern Europe continuing to expand.
IT operations will have to support this continued expansion through Ford’s dealer networks in that region and make the most of Ford’s global network and shared services.
“We began aggressive actions in 2006 to restructure our automotive business so we can operate profitably at lower volumes and with a product mix that better reflects consumer demand for smaller, more fuel efficient vehicles”
– Alan Mulally, president and CEO, Ford