RENTWOOD, ESSEX - In 1999, Ford Motor Company Ltd (Ford in
Britain) recorded a pre-tax loss of £119 million on a turnover of £6,292 million. The
profitability of the Company deteriorated over the previous year, largely as a result of
reduced revenues. Vigorous cost-cutting measures were not able to match the fall in sales
revenue. Over capacity in British plants exacerbated the situation, coupled with the
slight downturn in the British market.
Within a fiercely
competitive market, performance from Ford products was strong, with Ford Focus and Ford
Fiesta holding first and second positions respectively. Continued popularity of the Ford
range resulted in Ford achieving new car market leadership for the 23rd continuous year.
production in Britain was almost 1.1 million units in 1999, shared between the plants in
Bridgend, South Wales and Dagenham in Essex.
the year included:
achieved market leadership for the 23rd consecutive year. The Ford Focus, Ford Fiesta and
Ford Mondeo were the country's first, second and sixth best selling cars. Ford retained leadership of the light commercial
vehicle sector for the 21st consecutive year, with a share of 31.2 per cent Ford Transit
remained the country's favourite medium commercial vehicle for the 34th consecutive year,
with a segment share of 34.1 per cent.
Chairman and Managing Director of Ford in Britain said : "The year 1999 was one of
the most competitive and formative that the industry has seen for a long time. Controversy
relating to car pricing, had a substantial impact on revenues across the industry as most
manufacturers reduced transaction prices to respond to customer concern. However, Ford
products have continued to attract the largest group of purchasers."
In 1999, Ford new
vehicle sales in the UK were slightly down on the previous year, at 464, 341 (387, 985
cars and 76,356 commercial vehicles) compared to 490,024 in 1998 (403,717 cars and 86,307
commercial vehicles) and Ford's market-leading shares in the two segments for 1999 were
17.7 per cent and 27.5 per cent respectively.
in research and development during the year, principally at Ford's Dunton Engineering
Centre in Essex, amounted to £377 million as part of the Company's ongoing commitment to
producing class-leading products for world markets. Dunton is the country's largest
automotive design and engineering facility.
The outlook for
the year 2000 is that the market will remain extremely competitive. The Company will
benefit from the introduction of class leading products such as the all-new Ford Transit
and the new Ford Galaxy and continue a strong emphasis on reducing costs.
Since the approval
of the financial results for 1999, a major restructuring of Ford's European operations has
been announced (May 12, 2000). The restructuring included several actions affecting the
Company's operations in Britain:
investment of $500 million in Dagenham engine Plant to become more technology based as the
global centre for diesel engine manufacture. A proposed 50:50 joint venture company to be
formed with transmission specialists Getrag to engineer and manufacture manual
transmissions at facilities in Halewood, Bordeaux and Cologne. The cessation of vehicle
assembly and major body construction at Dagenham by first quarter of 2002. A voluntary
redundancy programme for around 1,900 employees at Dagenham Body and Assembly, partially
offset by about 500 incremental jobs associated with the expansion of diesel engine
production and engineering elsewhere within the Dagenham Estate. Net job losses on the
Dagenham Estate will therefore be around 1,400. The confirmation of $15 million investment
for a Ford Design Centre in central London.
Ford will proceed
with $100 million Dagenham investment plans, including $50 million for regeneration of
Dagenham Estate, $26 million in the Press Shop and $10 million for the Wheel Plant. The
creation of a further 360 new jobs with the transfer of Commercial Vehicle Engineering
from the U.S. to Britain. 240 diesel engine engineers to be relocated to Dagenham. A $12
million Ford-funded Employee Support Programme initiative to be set-up. A Proposal for a
Joint Advisory Board, including trade union, government and local development agency
representatives, to oversee development and implementation of the Employee Support
An opportunity for
expansion of diesel engine production at Dagenham by 80-100,000 units per year. An
additional opportunity for the Bridgend Engine Plant to be the source of a new petrol