FYI 09.16.2009

Ford Will Speed Expansion in China; Nielsen Appoints Oliver Rust in Hong Kong

By Published on .

Ford Motors Co. will quicken the pace of new model launches in China over the next two years, sources say.

Ford moved its Asia/Pacific and Africa headquarters to Shanghai from Bangkok earlier this year. At an internal meeting held this month in Shanghai, senior executives at the company agreed on the need to introduce new models into China more quickly, said a source close to the situation.

A Ford executive said the next generation of Mondeo and Focus models will be brought into China from North America. This contrasts with the three models Ford currently sells in China: the Mondeo, Focus and new Fiesta. All were introduced from the company's operations in Europe.

At Global Insight in Shanghai, market analyst John Zeng doubts the viability of this strategy. He said he believes Ford will still have to introduce most of its new models, such as the Kuga SUV and Focus C-MAX, from Europe, as its models in North America are too big in size for Chinese consumers.

Besides new models, Ford has announced plans to bring its EcoBoost technology into China. Featuring direct fuel injection and turbocharging technology, a four-cylinder EcoBoost engine can be as powerful as a traditional 3-liter gasoline engine.

Ford has yet to hammer out a schedule to introduce the new models over the next two years, sources say.

Ford sold 123,556 cars in China in the first seven months of this year, up 21% year-on-year. But Ford's market share in China is only 2.8%, according to Automotive Resources Asia, a unit of J.D. Power.
--by Chen Haisheng, a reporter at Automotive News China
Nielsen Co. promoted Oliver Rust to managing director of its Hong Kong office. Mr. Rust joined Nielsen in Hong Kong in 2002, and was executive director of Nielsen's business in China, based in Shanghai. Previously Mr. Rust worked with Taylor Nelson Sofres in Europe.

Mr. Rust succeeds Fanny Chan, who has taken a regional role, also based in Hong Kong, as managing director of Nielsen's global business service division for Greater China.

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