With Asia expected to be the engine of its future growth, Ford has outlined an aggressive product roll-out that will put 23 new models in its line-up by mid-decade, with the majority of those earmarked for China, now the world’s largest automotive market.
Ford currently holds just 2.6% of the Chinese car market, largely due to a late start, barely one-sixth the share held by its rival General Motors. But catching up in China – as well in India and other parts of Asia – will be critical to the recently-announced growth plan outlined by Ford CEO Alan Mulally, which calls for the maker to jump from 5.2 million sales annually to 8 million. Last year, the Asia/Pacific region accounted for just 15% of Ford’s global volume, but the maker believes it can push that closer to a full one-third.
Of the 15 new cars planned for China and eight targeting India, the vast majority will be aimed at the smallest and lowest-priced market segments, according to Joe Hinrichs, head of the maker’s Asian operations, below the current subcompact Fiesta. That means less than $14,500 in China, and $8,500 in India, which was recently projected to become the world’s third-largest automotive market by the end of the decade. (For more on that story, Click Here.)
“For Ford, if you want to grow the business and be competitive in China, we have to have a product portfolio that plays where the volume is,” said Hinrichs.