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FORD: Moving on up

Date: 18 July 2013

Delays to both new and current product, improving the launch process and model mix, plus new SME plans - Ford's new fleet boss Phil Hollins has had a busy first six months, as he explains to Paul Barker.

Since replacing the Europe-bound Kevin Griffin as Ford of Britain's fleet operations director in January, Phil Hollins has been as busy as you'd expect the man heading the UK's biggest-volume business car manufacturer to be.

The Mondeo has been one area of focus, both in current and future form. Ford revealed the next-generation at the Detroit motor show in January 2012, but is closing the European plant in Genk, Belgium, that currently builds the car, moving production to Valencia. The decision has knocked back the launch significantly and it won't now arrive in the UK until at least the end of next year.

That has meant another update for the current car, with Ford announcing in April new Titanium X Business Edition and Graphite models, as well as a 10g/km CO2 reduction on 2.0-litre 163hp and 140hp versions, taking them down to 119g/km. The Titanium X Business Edition gets navigation, Bluetooth and a range of higher-spec equipment, while the Graphite, starting from below £16,000, still offers alloys and Bluetooth.

"The biggest factor in this sector is CO2, and what we were able to do is significant; [we] combined [that] with the Business Edition that gets navigation - that's a big thing and a very visible feature that's well received in the marketplace," Hollins tells BusinessCar.