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by Tim Beissmann

The boss of Ford’s European operations says it could take until the end of the decade for the continent’s new car market to recover.

Ford of Europe CEO Stephen Odell told German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung the company believes the market may not bounce back until 2018 or 2019.

“There are indications that an end of the decline may come in the second half of this year,” Odell said.

“However, a recovery of the market, we estimate, will take at least five to six years.”

Odell said Ford expects the market to total 13.5 million across 19 major western European countries this year – three-quarters of the 18 million vehicles sold in 2007.

Analysts have predicted Ford could lose up to US$2 billion ($2.2 billion) in Europe this year, though Odell expects the company to contain its losses to US$1.8 billion ($2.0 billion).

To counter the losses and drop in demand, Ford announced the closure of three European plants in October in a move that will see 6200 jobs disappear by the end of next year.

Odell said he did not expect any further restructuring for its European operations, but admitted Ford would “continue to keep production in balance with demand”.




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