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Ford's 100 years on British roads

posted 17 Aug 2011, 09:37 by Mpelembe

Andy Barratt, Ford of Britain's sales director, says they've been the nation's best-selling car brand for over 30 years.

UK-FORD ANNIVERSARY -  Andy Barratt, Ford of Britain Sales Director, saying

"We've produced just over 26 and half million vehicles in the UK, and there are 4 million still on the road today. So a lot to be proud of and we've clearly touched most families in the UK over that period of time."

At the moment, Ford sells around 440,000 cars and commercial vehicles in Britain each year.

And while it has cut back vehicle production in recent years, the company's UK plants still make engines for a third of Ford's vehicles globally.

Like its rival car makers, Ford was hit by the slowdown in the global auto industry.

There have been signs that Asian and U.S. car markets are returning to health.

But analysts say it's too early to say that for Europe and the continent's auto industry still needs to get leaner and cut production.

Andy Barratt, Ford of Britain Sales Director, saying 

"There is no doubt that the European market and indeed the UK market are tough, there is too much production chasing too few customers. We've seen government support through scrappage etc which gave the market some stimulus. But at the end of the day every customer is looking for the same thing, they're looking for trust, value, convenience and affordability."

Ford are hoping some new technology might persuade drivers to buy a new car - especially if they're not very good at parking.

The Active Park Assist reverse parks a car for you.

The driver has to go past a space so the car can measure it.

Once it's found one, the vehicle uses cameras and sensors and takes care of the steering.

Meaning the driver controls the accelerator, brake and clutch, but can park in the smallest spaces without using their hands.

That's something no driver could have dreamed of when they were travelling the streets of Britain 100 years ago in a Model T.

Joanna Partridge, Reuters