Ford is latecomer to several world markets
Ford's Model T went on sale in China in 1913, but it wasn't until 1993 that the company set up its first formal dealerships.
And China isn't the only emerging market in which Ford has been a slow starter.
In late 1999 in India, Ford began building the Ikon, a stretched version of the Ford Fiesta designed for that market. The Ikon also is exported to South Africa and Mexico.
In Russia, Ford returned in late 2002 after an absence of more than 50 years to open a small plant near St. Petersburg to produce the Focus. The plant has an annual capacity of 25,000 cars, but the figure can rise to 100,000 if demand grows.
The Focus is in hot demand, with a six-month waiting list.
The St. Petersburg plant is Ford's second attempt to manufacture vehicles in the former Soviet Union. In 2000 Ford shut a plant in Belarus that built Escorts and Transit vans because of poor economic conditions. The plant, with a capacity of 6,000 units, had been in production only since July 1997.
In China, Ford has been building Transit vans at a joint venture with Jiangling Motor Corp. since December 1997.
But Ford entered the passenger car market only in January with the production launch of the Fiesta subcompact. The company plans to build 20,000 Fiestas this year and 50,000 in 2004.
The vehicles are made at a joint venture called Changan Ford, established in April 2001. Ford owns 50 percent of the venture, and two Chinese companies own the rest.
The factory site has room to expand production to between 150,000 and 170,000 units annually.
Faster start for GM
In comparison, General Motors started earlier in many markets and has a broad product range overseas. Here are a few examples.
GM began manufacturing in China in 1998 and produced 158,722 vehicles last year, including mid-sized Buick sedans and the GL8 executive wagon based on a North American front-drive minivan. It also makes the Opel-based Buick Sail and Chevrolet Blazer and S10 pickup.
Production in India and Poland began in 1994. In 2002 GM produced 7,969 vehicles in India - the Opel Astra and Corsa Swing - and 28,792 units in Poland - the Opel Corsa, Agila and Vectra cars and commercial vehicles.
In 1999, GM began building vehicles in Russia and last year made 3,345 units of the Chevrolet Blazer and Niva SUV.
CEO Bill Ford says Ford still will be selling vehicles in Europe 25 years from now, but the company's global footprint will have changed.
"In terms of relative size, Europe will be a very slow-growth place, the U.S. will be a slow- to moderate-growth place for us, and Asia will be a high-growth place," he says.
In 25 years, Bill Ford expects China to be at least the No. 2 auto market in the world - or perhaps even to have moved past the United States to be the largest market.
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