Ford drives plans for expansion in Africa

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Roy Cokayne

Ford has aggressive plans to expand its business in Africa and will be launching 25 new vehicles into the Middle East and Africa region by 2016, with 17 of these models launched into sub-Saharan Africa.

Jim Benintende, the president of Ford Middle East and Africa (MEA), said yesterday Ford had launched earlier this year its fifth business unit, MEA, comprising 67 markets that represented “the final frontier for growth within the global automotive industry”.

“The MEA automotive region is expected to grow by 40 percent to 5.5 million vehicles by 2020. By creating sub-regions within Fords MEA’s business unit – South Africa and sub-Saharan Africa, as well as the Middle East and North Africa – Ford is strengthening its presence in this dynamic region, which is recognised as one of the fastest growing regions in the world,” he said in Sandton at the first Ford Go Further event in Africa.

Benintende said Ford recognised the massive growth potential of the African continent and the opportunities it presented and by the end of next year would have refreshed more than 50 percent of its product line-up in South Africa and 20 percent of its line-up in sub-Saharan Africa.

He said Ford was also supporting its dealer network throughout the region to better serve customer needs, which included expanding its parts and service capability throughout the Middle East and Africa to ensure the shortest possible delivery times.

Jeff Nemeth, the president and chief executive of the Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa, said South Africa remained Ford’s engine of growth for the continent going forward and its vision was to become the first choice for mobility in Africa.

Nemeth said Ford launched a total of six new products into the South Africa last year, which contributed to its exceptional 40 percent year-on-year growth to 64 500 units over 2012 and the improvement in its market share to 10.4 percent.

He said the same growth trend had continued this year and Ford’s sales were 26 percent higher in the first half of this year compared with the corresponding period last year.

Nemeth stressed that for Ford to ensure its sales growth in Africa, it was vital to provide an affordable product offering.

“Africa is one of the youngest markets in the world and presents a huge business opportunity.

“The buying power of African consumers is on the rise as the continent’s middle class increases exponentially. Despite the infrastructure challenges, Africa has demonstrated an impressive return on foreign direct investment, which led to a 5 percent increase in foreign direct investment across sub-Saharan Africa last year alone,” he said.

Nemeth added that Ford sales had grown by almost 60 percent in sub-Saharan Africa in the past four years, with Nigeria and Angola its largest markets and accounting for 50 percent of its total sales in the region.

But he said Ford only participated in 24 of the 46 markets in sub-Saharan Africa, which meant there was a massive opportunity for growth.

Nemeth said Ford would become an even stronger contender in the commercial vehicle segment by expanding the Transit brand family across the region.


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