Car Reviews

Ford Ups Ante in Middle East, Africa

Just months into operation as a newly aligned organization, Ford’s Middle East & Africa unit announces plans today to launch 25 new vehicles into the regions by 2016, including the best-selling Focus small car and the iconic Mustang sports coupe.

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This latest plan increases the product rollout from the 17 new or refreshed vehicles Ford earmarked for the region in November, when it realigned its North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, South Africa and the Middle East markets into the Ford Middle East & Africa business unit with an eye on improving customer service and growing sales.

Ford historically sells about 200,000 vehicles a year throughout the Middle East and Africa, capturing a little more than 5% market share.

Ford Mustang2

“The total Middle East and Africa car market is expected to grow 40% by the end of the decade to 5.5 million vehicles,” Jim Benintende, president, Ford Middle East & Africa, says in a statement ahead of an event in Johannesburg attended by 1,000 employees, Ford dealers, suppliers, government officials and media.

“Middle East & Africa is the final frontier for global automotive growth and we are putting the infrastructure and people in place to participate in this growth with the introduction of new products,” he says.

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Products due to arrive with two years include a new Focus, which the automaker says will become “sleeker, more advanced and more refined,” and a new version of the Fusion large car with “striking” design and craftsmanship on top of smart technology.

Both the Focus and Fusion come alongside the Mustang in 2015, which in the near term also will see its first availability in Europe in more than 35 years.

976 Ford Mustang II Cobra II

Ford also says its Middle East & Africa group will see an accelerated technology rollout with the introduction of items such as EcoBoost engines, Sync in-car connectivity, inflatable rear seatbelts, MyKey and other driver-assist technologies.

Ford also shows at the Johannesburg event an image of the Figo Concept, a preview of a new global small-car from the automaker that will be introduced in Africa. Ford says the car will offer design, fuel economy, quality and safety features usually appearing in more expensive vehicles.

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