Quotes from Farley indicate he’ll have small, low-cost vehicle focus in new year

During a Ford event before the Los Angeles Auto Show this week, Jim Farley gave every indication his focus will be on small, cheaper options when he heads to Europe in the new year.

At the launch of the Ford Mustang Shelby GT350, we asked Farley — who will be moving from the group vice president of marketing and sales role at Ford to be the new boss of Ford in Europe — if there was a chance he’d take the new 5.2-litre V8 powered Shelby with him to the old continent.

“Oh, I don’t know,” Farley said with a laugh. “We’ll see. I think I’ll be busy doing other things in Europe than driving fancy cars. I’ll probably be driving a lot of Fiestas and Peugeots and Renaults and Dacias and Seats and Skodas. That’s really what matters.”

The executive then continued on, in a relaxed manner, about the changing landscape of executive profiles. But, as soon as we asked about the possibility of Ford giving Dacia a challenge, the tone changed significantly.

“No comment. No comment,” said Farley before the question was even finished. He then turned away, showing his intention to take no further questions.

Dacia has been a run-away success for Renault, providing the French automaker with an affordable alternative to usually higher-priced European offerings. Models such as the Dacia Sandero sub-compact hatchback and Duster sub-compact crossover have been filling up streets all over Europe since their mainstream launch in more Western states of the European Union.

Ford, fighting against a depressed European market, doesn’t have a brand below the Blue Oval to capitalize on the new low-cost niche. Other automakers like Volkswagen Group have Seat and Skoda to market vehicles at slightly lower prices, but not at the low price points of Dacia, in the European market.

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