Published on March 23rd, 2011 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
Ford to introduce 8 new vehicles in 5 years
The Ford Motor Corp plans to introduce eight new vehicles throughout Southeast Asia over the next five years as part of its effort to win market share in this fast-growing region. Speaking to regional reporters at a press conference after unveiling the latest Ranger pickup, Peter Fleet, president of Ford ASEAN explained how Ford will be taking on all markets with global products that will have more features and technology that current segment leaders, immediately putting products like the new Ranger and the coming Focus ahead by a large margin.
The automaker has had a “favorable” year so far, with sales across the region rising 175 percent in January and February, driven by sales of the Fiesta subcompact car, added Peter Fleet. (pictured here)
“We are very serious about growth in this region,” Fleet said in an interview, adding it would be using its manufacturing base in Thailand as the hub for that growth in countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Ford has less than 2 percent of the ASEAN and Thai markets.
“Historically in this market we’ve offered a very limited lineup of vehicles that are built within the Free Trade Area,” Fleet said.
Toyota Motor Co. had by far the biggest share of the vehicle market in Thailand in 2010 with 40.7 percent, compared with Isuzu’s 19.1 percent share, Honda’s 14.3 percent and Nissan Motor Corp with 6.8 percent, industry data showed.
Thailand is home to Ford’s largest sales operation in ASEAN. It also has the biggest automotive market in the region, but Fleet said: “That’s not always going to be that way.” “Indonesia as a sales market in terms of the number of vehicles bought by customers will overtake Thailand,” said Fleet. “The industry gap today is not that considerable, maybe 50,000 units a year, something of that order.” The 44-year-old executive, who was appointed Ford’s ASEAN president in April 2010, said he was determined to raise the automaker’s game and transform its business.
Ford is introducing a new Ranger pickup truck, designed by Greg Metros (pictured above) in Thailand this year after it made its world debut late last year in Australia. Thailand will be one of three global hubs for exporting the truck to an estimated 180 markets, with production starting later this year at the AutoAlliance plant, a joint venture between Ford and Mazda in eastern Rayong province. Analysts said the introduction of a range of new pickup trucks — including offerings from General Motors, Mazda and Ford this year was expected to fuel competition in Thailand, the world’s second-biggest market for trucks after the United States. Thailand is the global market leader for the one-ton pickups.
Pickups accounted for around 40 percent of all vehicles sold in the country in 2010. Next year Ford plans to introduce another model to tap the region’s markets, with analysts expecting it to be a new Focus vehicle. (new Focus cabin picture below).