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The chief executive of U.S. Ford Motor Co. said Friday that his company will
step up its drive to boost sales in South Korea by widening the car line-up and
expanding the dealership network.
"Ford is a growing company operating in a growing global automotive market and South Korea represents a key opportunity for Ford," Alan Mulally, the president and chief executive officer of Ford, said in a press meeting in Seoul.
"Our growth plan reflects Ford's commitment to provide South Korean customers with a full family of best-in-class products and a retail experience that is second to none."
He said Ford will roll out six new models in South Korea this year, where sales of foreign cars are ballooning in recent years. The new models include the new Taurus, New Mustang, All-New Escape, All-New Fusion and Focus diesel.
Nearly all of the new cars will be equipped with Ford's high-performing EcoBoost engines or diesel or hybrid engines in order to meet South Korean drivers' demand for higher fuel efficiency, he noted.
Sales of foreign-made cars have been steadily increasing in South Korea for years, with a total of 105,037 units sold last year, a 16 percent on-year gain. In the first six months of 2012, 62,239 foreign vehicles were sold in South Korea.
Ford Sales & Service Korea Co., the local unit of the U.S. automaker, currently has two dealers in the country that sold 4,184 units of vehicles last year, including Lincoln brand cars, up 4.1 percent on-year. Ford ranked sixth among foreign car brands and placed first among U.S. brands in the country in 2011.
Its sales reached 2,276 units in the January-June period of 2012.
Apart from the release of new cars, Ford Korea said it will also invest at least 51 billion won (US$45 million) into expanding its dealership network, as 15 new shops and service centers are expected to open this year. It will also offer a five-year and 100,000 kilometer warranty.
"The level of investments being made in providing state-of-the-art facilities, convenient service, and outstanding customer experiences is at an all-time high in South Korea," said Chung Jae-hee, the president of Ford Korea.
"Ford has big plans for this market, and is more committed than ever to bringing class-leading products and technologies to Korean customers and providing them with a world-class ownership experience."
Alan Mulally, the president and chief executive officer of Ford Motor Co., speaks at a press meeting in Seoul on Aug. 31. (Yonhap)