US carmaker aims to boost sales by 50% in five years
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The US carmaker Ford is aiming to drive up sales by 50% by 2015 as it hopes to take advantage of fast-growing demand in the developing world.

Underlining the importance of emerging markets to western companies, the chief executive, Alan Mulally, unveiled plans on Tuesday to increase the company's worldwide sales to 8m vehicles a year from 5.3m by the middle of the decade. The increase would shoot the Detroit-based company to the top of world production. Last year, the global leader, Toyota, sold about 8.42m vehicles.

Ford announced that sales in China rose 14% last month amid strong demand for its mid-range cars. It wants more than one-third of its sales to come from the Asia-Pacific region and Africa by 2020 – twice what it sells in those regions today.

In 2010, Ford sold 838,000 cars and trucks in the Asia Pacific region, which includes China, India, Australia, South Africa and Japan among its 12 markets. It controlled 2.4 percent of that region's sales.

Ford's plans follow news this week that the German carmaker Daimler sold more of its Mercedes-Benz cars in May than in any month in its history.

The company delivered 108,766 Mercedes vehicles in emerging markets such as Brazil, Russia, India and China. Sales on Daimler's home turf slipped marginally and in the US, the firm's second largest market, sales grew only by 1.8%. But sales in China and Hong Kong rose by 43% to a new record high for the month of May. New records were also achieved for the month in India and Russia, which saw sales rise 39.8% and 49.2%, respectively. Demand also soared in Brazil, South Korea, Taiwan and Turkey.

The increase in sales at Daimler and Ford came despite some recent signs of slowing sales in the Chinese auto market amid expiring government sales incentives. The slowdown has held back sales at rivals Toyota and General Motors (GM).

Ford's close competitors GM, Toyota and Volkswagen have larger shares and better brand recognition in Asia. But auto analysts said the firm was well positioned to take advantage as its rivals, many of which have stalled for various reasons in the recent past.

Bill Visnic, analyst at Edmunds.com, said Ford, along with South Korea's Hyundai and Kia, were gaining at the expense of Toyota, which has been rocked by a series of recalls and by the recent earthquake in Japan.

But he said Ford was also benefiting from its emergence after the recent meltdown of the US car industry. Ford was the only major US car firm not to declare bankruptcy or to take government cash following the credit crisis.

Visnic said Ford was not alone in hoping to take advantage of the Japanese car firms' woes or GM's fall. "Volkswagen is aiming to double its US sales. It wants to be the number one carmaker by 2018." Volkswagen recently said it intended to sell more than 10m cars by 2018 and overtake Toyota and GM to become the world's largest auto firm in terms of sales.

Ford, the second-largest US carmaker, still makes most of its sales and profits in the US and Europe. It has a 2.4% share of the market in China, the world's largest car market, against GM, which has 10%, according to marketing research firm JD Power. Visnic said Ford had redesigned its products to give them a more "European profile" with smaller, fuel-efficient cars. "Energy prices will continue to plateau at higher and higher levels and Ford seems to have grasped where it needs to be for the next five years," he said.

In the US Ford saw strong sales for the Fiesta and Focus. Focus sales were up 31% in May in a flat market.
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I hope that we can get some of the jobs back in the U S . We must have U S jobs . So we can get back on our feet . C . L . USA must live
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