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Ford UK Continues With Strong Sales

During the first six months of the year, Ford UK increased their sales by 3.6% to 149,681, as overall the market increased by 2.7%.  However, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) have confirmed that Ford’s June 2012 sales were down by 4.1% on the same month in 2011.  In June 2011 Ford sold 24,461 units, whilst in June 2012 this figure dropped to 23,466.  The total number of cars sold throughout the UK during the period from January to the end of June 2012 was 1,057,680 which was the 2.7% increase from 2011.

The top spot for Ford sales was, unsurprisingly taken by the Fiesta, with 59,570 being sold this year.  The Fiesta took first place in the UK market.  There were increases in sales for the Ford C-MAX, Ford Mondeo and the Ford Galaxy during June.  

Ford also had good sales with their light commercial and medium commercial vehicles.  These increased by 4% from 6,118 sales in June 2011 to 6,362 in June 2012.

Ford of Britain managing director, Mark Ovenden said “Our best-ever product range is a key contributor to our strengthened leadership position, and with the new 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine in Focus and the new Focus ST now launched to considerable media and customer acclaim, we are keenly anticipating the new Ford B-MAX and the new Ford Transit, due later this year.”

Third Generation Focus Production Started

This car is due to be launched in the UK in August and production has now started in Thailand.  By the end of 2012 the third-generation Focus will have various models available.  In addition to the five-door hatch there will also be a sedan and both will be manufactured in Thailand.

In addition to producing vehicles for the UK the plant in Thailand will be supplying models for New Zealand, Australia, South Africa and some Asian markets

Dagenham Produced 40 millionth Engine

It was confirmed that the 40 millionth engine was produced at Dagenham on Tuesday, 10th July.  Vehicles haven’t been manufactured at the plant since 2002, but the site is Ford’s worldwide centre for the production of diesel engines.  The significant engine built today was a 1.6-litre TDCi, but it isn’t known in which model it will be installed. 

During 2011 there were a total of 987,000 engines produced at Dagenham.  Approximately seventy per cent of these are destined for Ford vehicles, with the balance being supplied to Volvo, Mazda, Jaguar and Land Rover.

Ford’s EcoBoost petrol engines are produced at the Bridgend plant and together with Dagenham the two UK plants supply engines to about one third of all Ford vehicles globally.

Between them they produce about two million engines each year, and around eighty five per cent are exported.

Ford Britain chairman, Joe Greenwell said “Dagenham producing 40 million engines is a significant milestone for Ford’s biggest UK site.  Ford Dagenham now produces Ford’s most fuel-efficient engine in the 1.6-litre TDCi unit and exports to 12 countries around the world as part of our global ‘One Ford’ strategy.  This site is helping to power the UK’s sustainable economic recovery.”  
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Ford’s First All-Electric Car Launches in Europe

Although Ford is getting ready to throw the spotlight on its first all-electric passenger car later this year, they still anticipate that hybrid and plug-in hybrid cars will be considerably more popular for some years for customers who wish to choose a vehicle with low emissions.

The Ford Focus Electric will go into production in the autumn of 2012 with a 23kWh battery which will allow passengers to travel a distance of approximately 99 miles on a single charge.  The car will have a top speed of 84mph.

There are of course, other manufacturers already producing or developing electric cars.  Ford estimates that by 2020 about 25% of sales will be from electric cars, but vehicles which are purely electric will only be a small percentage of overall sales projections.

Sustainable communications manager at Ford Europe, Volker Eis said “We think that up to 2020 the share of electrified vehicles will be between 10 per cent and 25 per cent of our fleet, which includes hybrids and plug-in hybrids.  In this 10 to 25 per cent, the biggest share are hybrids and plug-in hybrids.  We expect pure electric vehicles not higher than two to five per cent.”
Ford in the US has sold about 200,000 full hybrid vehicles since 2004.  There are plans for the company to introduce plug-in hybrid and new hybrid cars later this year, and these will follow into Europe.

Mr Eis continued “Without improvements in battery technology, electric vehicles are unlikely to achieve the same traction as hybrids.  In the US, plug-in hybrids suit the driving cycle of most of the customers.  With a pure electric vehicle you always have a limitation of a given range, which is relatively small.  If you want to increase the range it gets very expensive or you lose a lot of space in the car.”

The electric version of the Focus is already available in the US and is priced at £25,570 ($39,000) but at the current time there hasn’t been a price agreed for the UK market.

The Focus electric will be manufactured at Saarlouis, in Germany and initially will have a share in the production line of the standard Focus whilst all the major European markets are being targeted.  There is additional space to increase production as and when necessary. 
Mr Eis concluded “We see it at that moment as a very low volume market, but if the demand is growing we are flexible to adjust.  There is the potential to take it to Asia.  In Europe, we are starting with the big markets like Britain, Germany, Italy and France, but we’ll bring this vehicle finally to all European markets.

Charging Points
There are more charging points being introduced across the UK and within a short period of time there are expected to be around 4,000 points which will charge £1 to refill the car with electricity.  There will be areas of the UK where, certainly in the short-term, there will be a dearth of charging points.  These are likely to be in the North-east England and North Wales.
Even though an annual payment of £10 is required for the credit-type card it does mean, for the UK motorist that running costs for an electric car will be considerably cheaper than having to fill up with diesel or petrol.
Those households where a car is only necessary for ferrying children to school and evening activities, plus trips to the supermarket will find that they will make a huge saving on future fuel bills.
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