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News of  May 23, 2000


Ford in Britain Announces 1999 Financial Results

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.

Ford engine production in Britain was almost 1.1 million units in 1999, shared between the plants in Bridgend, South Wales and Dagenham in Essex.

Highlights of the year included:

The Company 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.

Ian McAllister, 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.

Total investment 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:

A five-year 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 Programme.

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 engine. 

(19 May, 2000)


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