TOKYO - Ford Motor Co. plans to raise its share of the Asian market to 10 percent from 1 percent over the next 10 years without merging or acquiring other companies, Ford Vice Chairman Wayne Booker said here.
'We don't have any plans to accomplish major mergers in the Asia-Pacific region,' he said last week.
Asked about persistent rumors that Ford may buy part or all of troubled Nissan Motor Co. Ltd., Booker said the two companies have discussed such joint projects as the Nissan Quest/Mercury Villager minivan.
'But as to an overall combination, it's not up to that yet,' he said.
In Korea, Booker said, Ford has 'no plans' to purchase equity in the restructured Kia Motors Corp., or its new parent, Hyundai Motor Co., despite Hyundai's public statements that it would welcome foreign investors.
Not buying into Kia 'will probably increase the importance of Mazda to Ford in the areas of small passenger cars,' Booker said.
He said China, Japan, Thailand and India will generate the biggest sales gains for Ford. Indeed, the company will benefit from Asia's current economic crisis, Booker said.
'Rather than running from the challenges of the crisis, we're looking for the opportunities it can provide,' he said.
'We're positioning ourselves in markets now to be part of the industry growth when the markets rebound. While others are retreating, we're broadening our base.'
That includes new, flexible factories Ford has built over the past few years in India, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam, Book-er said.
But analysts were skeptical of Ford's ability to generate such a quantum leap in regional share without acquisitions.
'I don't see how they can reach 10 percent without picking up something or expanding something,' said Stephen Usher, senior analyst at Jardine Fleming Securities (Asia) Ltd. in Tokyo. 'Otherwise, it would mean building more plants.'