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Ford to introduce 25 new models in Africa expansion plan

FINANCIAL STANDARD
By Peter Muiruri | August 5th 2014

Ford has announced its intention to introduce 25 new vehicle models in emerging markets in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) by 2016 as part of its aggressive expansion plans. Ford’s new MEA unit will comprise 67 markets.

According to the automaker’s president for MEA, Mr Jim Benintende, the region presents the final frontier for global growth in the auto industry. He added that the company is committed to offering products that will resonate with the expanded customer base.

“Ford is bringing a full family of safe, high-quality, fuel-efficient and fun-to-drive cars, trucks and SUVs to customers throughout the Middle East and Africa. [We are] putting the right structures and people in place,” said Mr Benintende.

The move is expected to push vehicle sales in the MEA region to 5.5 million units by the end of the decade, representing a 40 per cent jump.

To take advantage of the growth opportunities, Ford has combined the four regions of North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, South Africa and the Middle East into a single business unit, consolidating all sales, shares and financial reporting. The new operation unit — which becomes the company’s fifth — is headquartered in Dubai.

“The Middle East and Africa region is vast and comprises very diverse markets with different political, cultural and economic environments. To best support the region, it has been imperative that we establish a robust operation with a dedicated focus and clear understanding of the unique conditions and customer needs in these markets,” said Benintende.

He said the company’s priorities would include supporting a dealer network throughout the region that would meet customer needs.

Ford currently sells about 200,000 vehicles a year throughout MEA, with one of the most popular models being the Ford Ranger, a pick-up that can navigate rugged terrain. In July, the firm unveiled the new Ford Mustang in South Africa, which will go on sale across the continent next year.

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