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Updated: Wed, 15 Jan 2014 10:08:48 GMT | By The Associated Press, thecanadianpress.com

Ford's European sales down 2.1 per cent in 2013

FRANKFURT - Ford's money-losing European business saw sales fall 2.1 per cent last year in a tough market where unemployment and a slow recovery are holding back buyers.


Ford's European sales down 2.1 per cent in 2013

A Ford rally car steers through Guberschwihr during the Rally de France on Oct. 5, 2012. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Laurent Cipriani

FRANKFURT - Ford's money-losing European business saw sales fall 2.1 per cent last year in a tough market where unemployment and a slow recovery are holding back buyers.

The Dearborn, Michigan-based automaker sold 1.08 million cars in 19 European countries, as sales slipped for two of the company's mainstay models, the small Fiesta hatchback and compact Focus.

Stephen Odell, the company's president for Europe, Middle East and Africa, pointed to a 14 per cent increase in sales to individuals as a positive sign. The company is seeking to reduce its reliance on sales to company fleets and car rental companies, which aren't as profitable, as it seeks to return the Europe operation to profit by 2015.

The company says retail sales are better for its brand image and improve resale value for its customers.

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