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Mon 12 Jan 2009 04:38 PM

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Ford ME predicts ‘challenging’ 2009

Ford's forecast comes on the back of a 23% growth in sales in 2008 - plans are in place for this year.

Ford Middle East has admitted this year will be challenging, despite posting a 23 percent growth in sales across the GCC for 2008.

Hussein Murad, director of sales for Ford Middle East, said on the Monday that the company recognised the economic challenges ahead as the financial crunch continued to bite.

However, he insisted that Ford ME had the right strategy in place for continued growth this year.

“We are more confident than ever that we have the right plan, the right products and the right partners to withstand these challenging times and be well positioned for profitable growth in the future,” he said.

Murad added that the Middle East, which represents nearly half of Ford Motor Company’s export operations, is a crucial market for the group.

“The region's dynamism and continued growth are sure to keep up the buzz in the automotive industry in the years to come.

As a company with more than 60-years of heritage in the region, Ford Middle East is upbeat about the growth opportunities in 2009,” he added.

The UAE was a major growth market in 2008, with sales up 35 percent compared to 2007. The increase was driven by truck and SUV sales, which climbed 60 percent across Ford, Lincoln and Mercury brands.

The company’s SUV and truck sales across the GCC increased 40 percent, while passenger cars climbed 10 percent last year.

Opening more Ford dealerships such as Al Tayer Motors and Premier Motors also contributed to the company’s sales figures.

During the past five years, more than $200 million has been invested in new facilities across the UAE. In that time, eight Ford, Lincoln and Mercury operations, servicing Ford Motor products, have been developed.

This year, Ford is launching the 09 Fiesta and 2010 Mustang. It is also introducing new Fusion, Taurus, Mercury and Lincoln models.

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