Ford loses grip in Europe and predicts worse trading in 2013

STALLING car sales in Europe dragged US motoring giant Ford down last year, and the company said it expects conditions to get worse in 2013.

Ford made a pre-tax loss of $1.75bn (£1.1bn) in Europe last year as revenues in the region fell by a fifth. It said it forecasts a $2bn loss on the continent this year as it restructures the European business.

The company is one of the first big car manufacturers to report 2012 figures, and its performance suggest similarly bad trading in the region for the likes of General Motors, which reports next month.

Ford’s European gloom pushed shares in the company down 4.6 per cent even as it beat forecasts to record a group profit of $8bn – although this was down on 2011’s $8.76bn. Sales in the US had been far better than expected, and Ford said it expects the number of cars sold in both the US and Asia to increase this year.

“We do believe the industry will turn around and we will get to a profitable, growing, Ford Motor Europe,” the company’s chief financial officer Bob Shanks said.