US auto giant Ford sees stable losses in Europe this year but aims to be profitable in the region by 2015, the head of its European operations Stephen Odell said Tuesday.
"Our guidance, as I am sure you are aware, is our losses will be very similar to last year which was 1.8 billion euros," Odell told reporters on the sidelines of the IAA auto show, which opens this week.
"Obviously we're in a lower market and we've got higher restructuring costs as we start to pay for closures of some of the facilities and accelerated depreciation, but despite that... we're able to hold the losses ... at last year's level," he said.
Odell said Ford was sticking to its forecast that its European operations return to the black in 2015.
"In 2015 we're on track to be profitable for Ford Europe," at a pre-tax level, he said.
Looking at the overall European market as a whole, Odell said Ford was assuming industry-wide growth "in the order of about 20 percent through the next five years or so."
"I can't tell you how it will look, it won't be linear. There'll be peaks and troughs," he said.
"There are plenty of indicators that we're running along what looks like the bottom.
Asked whether the industry would ever be able to return to the peaks of sales of around 18 million vehicles seen before the crisis, Odell said: "'Ever is a long time. I think it will be difficult to see in this decade the industry running at the 18 million level."
Vehicle sales in Europe are currently running at about 13.5 million units a year, well below the 18 million unit sales rate in 2007.
The US automaker has also had to grapple with fierce competition, including extensive discounting and from German luxury makers crowding into marget segments, such as midsized vehicles, in which it has traditionally done well.