FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Ford Europe plans to raise production in the fourth quarter by 40,000 vehicles due to anticipated stronger demand, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday. The European arm of the world's second-largest carmaker, which posted a shock $525 million pre-tax loss in the second quarter, has said it expects a stronger second half and is cutting costs to boost earnings later in the year.
A Ford Europe spokesman declined to comment on the 40,000 unit output boost, as reported by the newspaper which cited people familiar with the matter.
"We do expect a better market in the second half - incoming orders are better, and June and July were better than expected, so we think there is a trend," a company spokesman said.
"We are more optimistic than we were two months ago," he added, noting that production plans are flexible and can be quickly changed to adapt to market conditions. Ford Europe, whose President and COO Martin Leach quit last week, is cutting third quarter production by about 22,000 vehicles amid weak conditions. The unit has annual production of 1.6 million units.
Most carmakers in Europe are pinning their hopes on at least a modest recovery in auto demand in the second half after sales fell 2.6 percent in the first six months of the year.