Ford Motor Co. plans to launch 25 new models in Africa and the Middle East by 2016, in line with its projection that the driving age population in the region will surge 31 percent by 2023 to 1.7 billion people. Lined up for the market are Ford Mustang, Fusion and other models in the region.
Jim Benintende, head of Ford's operations in the Middle East and Africa, said the carmaker expects overall auto sales in Africa to expand by 40 percent in the next six years to 2.1 million vehicles.
Aside from the 25 new models, Ford will also introduce new technology like its voice-activated Sync communications system and its turbo-charged engines. Benintende told Bloomberg in an interview that Ford is seeing significant opportunity in Africa, adding that the region will be growing over the next few years.
Ford is planning to roll out 17 new models in South Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa in the next two years, including right-hand-drive versions of the Mustang, Fusion and Focus in 2015. The carmaker expects the driving-age population in the continent to grow 55 percent to 840 million people by 2023.
Jeff Nemeth, head of the Ford’s South African operations, said that the launch of five new models in the country last year pushed sales by 40 percent. It allowed the carmaker to hike its market share in South Africa from 7.7 percent in 2012 to over 10 percent in 2013.
So far in 2014, Ford controls 11.5 percent of the South African auto market, although it remains behind Toyota Motor Corp. and Volkswagen AG. Nemeth told Bloomberg in an interview that Ford intends to keep growing in South Africa.
The US carmaker posted a 15-percent hike in pretax profit in the Middle East and Africa in the first quarter to $54 million. [source: automotive news - sub. required]