Ford, UK officials will test plug-in hybrid vans in London.
Ford Of Europe
After returning to profitability, Ford of Europe is undertaking sweeping changes, reconfiguring its product lineup and slashing its workforce.
We're pretty sure that any initial concerns Ford had about selling the redesigned Mustang in Europe have been lessened considerably, after the first 500 Euro-spec 2015 Mustangs were been reserved in just 30 seconds. Moreover, 9,300 people attempted to snag one of the coveted orders for the all-new muscle car. Yes, Mustang, you should do quite well across the pond.
The mind behind the look of much of the modern Ford global range is retiring. Martin Smith, Head of Ford Design in Europe, will give up his position on July 1 and will leave the company altogether at the end of the year. He will be replaced by current Strategic Concepts Group leader Joel Piaskowski (pictured above).
Ford's European operations are celebrating a milestone of sorts as the Mondeo, the Blue Oval's bread-and-butter D-segment sedan in the old country, celebrates its 20th anniversary. The mid-sizer, which was sold in the US for a short time as the Contour, has been a far more popular vehicle in Europe – even receiving regular praise from one Jeremy Clarkson.
We haven't seen a Ken Block Gymkhana since the infamous Ford Fiesta assaulted the streets of San Francisco over the summer, but Ford of Europe wanted to make sure we weren't going through withdrawals. For our viewing pleasure, Ford's team from across the pond created the stop-motion Snowkhana One using a scaled-down version of Block's car, someone's garage and a lot of free time.
Too often, we find ourselves pining for Europe-only versions of cars that will never be sold in the United States, but if a report from Inside Line is to be believed, this is a case in which The Continent's enthusiasts will have to watch from afar gets. Ford of Europe is seeking a new coupe that would be smaller than the Mustang, but be positioned as a halo car for the American automaker's European division.
It appears that the World Rally Championship has lost another key player. After word that Mini is leaving WRC comes news that Ford is pulling out as well. While Mini's departure was rooted in its tenuous relationship with Prodrive, Ford's exit from the sport is tied to the poor economic climate in Europe.
It's a big week for buildings: after the announcement of Lamborghini's prototype center, not only is Ford not pulling out of Europe, it has spent €11.6 million ($14.3M U.S.) to expand its design center in Germany. The 3,000 square-meter architectural addition to the location charged with global design of small and compact Ford models revamps existing studios, adds a "powerwall" for projecting 3D designs and virtual envrionments, along with new machines for clay modeling.
Mike Flewitt, Ford's vice president, manufacturing, Ford of Europe, has decided to "pursue other career interests" according to the company's press release. Jeff Wood, director of manufacturing for Ford's North America operations, will replace Flewitt beginning June 1.
Ford of Europe has officially unveiled the production version of the Tourneo Custom Concept that made its debut at the Geneva Motor Show earlier this month. The Tourneo won't be coming to the United States, but according to Ford, it's part of the automaker's plan to refresh its entire commercial vehicle lineup by 2014. The production model will officially debut at the Birmingham Commercial Vehicle Show in April.
2009 Ford Fiesta - Click above for a high-res gallery
Ford is looking to bring over more C-segment crossovers from Europe to the US, and word has it that the people-hauling C-Max is toward the top of the list. The current C-Max would probably be sufficient for US duty in terms of size and performance, but with America's different legislative standards, if we get the Euro crossover Stateside it will likely arrive with the next redesign.