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Old 06-23-2003, 06:11   #1 (permalink)
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FRANCE: Ford Premier Auto chief doesn't rule out 2003 profit

The head of Fordís luxury car division said on Monday he did not rule out the unit turning a profit in 2003, Reuters reported.

"It is not out of the question that we could be profitable this year," Mark Fields, chief executive of Ford's Premier Automotive Group (PAG), told reporters on the sidelines of an industry conference in Paris, Reuters said.

The news agency noted that, together with Ford's upscale Lincoln brand, PAG has been ordered by Ford chairman and chief executive, Bill Ford Jr., to contribute more than 30% of group profits by the middle of the decade.

But the division, which includes the Volvo, Jaguar, Land Rover and Aston Martin brands, made an $US88-million pre-tax loss in the first quarter of 2003, while Ford's North American business - the Ford, Lincoln and Mercury brands - turned a $1.2 billion pre-tax profit, Reuters added.

The news agency said Fields, who gained a reputation as a cost-cutter as head of Mazda before he took charge of PAG a year ago, has pledged consolidation after a period of rapid growth under its previous chief, Wolfgang Reitzle.

Source: Just-auto
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Old 06-23-2003, 06:48   #2 (permalink)
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Ford says Premier luxury unit may earn 2003 profit

By Bret Okeson / Bloomberg News

PARIS -- Ford Motor Co., the world's second- largest carmaker, said its Premier Automotive Group luxury-car division may be profitable this year as the unit introduces new models.

"It's not out of the question that we could be profitable this year," Mark Fields, the division's head, told journalists in Paris on Monday. The luxury unit, which lost $88 million in the first quarter, is introducing 35 new and revamped models over the next five years.

Premier Automotive includes the Jaguar, Land Rover, Aston Martin and Volvo brands. Jaguar, which is bringing out its first-ever diesel motor this year, accounted for much of the first- quarter loss. Volvo and Land Rover were both profitable in the period.

Ford and competitors are offering incentives of as much as $4,000 on new cars in the U.S., where industry sales are expected to fall to about 16 million vehicles this year from 16.8 million units in 2002, according to a forecast today by the German carmakers association, or VDA.

The company doesn't expect any reduction of incentives in the "near term," said Fields.

Premier is trying to reduce spending by sharing parts within single brands. The Jaguar's new XJ model shares braking and suspension systems with the S-Type. The company is also looking at sharing parts between model ranges, Fields said. The X-Type diesel engine is also used in Ford models.
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