It's all engines go in Europe for Ford, says senior executive

Optimistic about US tax reform: Ford's Jim Farley
Optimistic about US tax reform: Ford's Jim Farley

U.S. automaker Ford remains bullish on the European market even as consolidation looms with General Motors moving to sell its Opel/Vauxhall unit to France's PSA Group this week, marking an exit from the continent.

The deal makes PSA Group Europe's second-ranked carmaker by sales, with a 16 percent market share, Reuters reported.

But a key Ford executive believes the European market will continue to see growth.

"Last year we had record profitability (in Europe), with nearly 4 percent of operating margin," Jim Farley, executive vice president and president for Europe, the Middle East and Africa at Ford Motor, told CNBC on the sidelines of the Geneva Motor Show.

"This is still a key market globally for new technology roll-outs like electric cars and automated vehicles, and key for Ford's commercial vehicles," Farley said.

Ford debuted its next generation Fiesta ST at show, which Farley said boasts a 1.5 liter turbocharged three-cylinder engine.

Farley told CNBC that a diverse product mix has helped drive Ford's profitability in Europe, of which the performance car segment accounts for a large portion of sales.

But he admitted that the European business is not without headwinds, particularly with the U.K.'s impending split from the European Union and the accompanied currency volatility.

The senior executive emphasized that the automaker remains committed to its six percent operating margin target. He added that Ford is optimistic that the British government and the European Union will be able to negotiate zero tariffs for the auto industry as Brexit looms.

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