LAS VEGAS -- A top Ford Motor Co. executive acknowledged on Friday that the company had been slow to move into the Asian markets, which he said would account for 90 percent of automotive growth over the next 10 years.
"Asia is a growth area where we've not been as quick as some," said David Thursfield, head of Ford's international operations and global purchasing.
He said that Ford was "catching up very rapidly," however.
"We have significant plans for growth in the whole region, not just China," Thursfield told an automotive conference here sponsored by J.D. Power and Associates.
General Motors has led the drive by U.S. automakers into China, which Thursfield said was "growing at a prodigious rate."
In October, Ford said it would boost investment in China by more than $1 billion over the next few years to expand output sevenfold in the world's fastest-growing major car market.
"We're getting serious about the region," Thursfield said.
While the Asia-Pacific region will account for most of the growth in auto sales, the more mature markets in North America and Europe will continue to account for the bulk of the revenues for the industry, Thursfield said.