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Ford eyes Chinese territory

China syndrome: The Ford Territory on display in Beijing.

Ford Motor China shows interest in the Territory and LTD

Ford logo15 Jul 2004

THE new Territory cross-over and LTD have generated interest both from the public and Ford Motor China while on display in Beijing at Auto China 2004.

But Ford Australia president Tom Gorman cautioned: "It’s a long walk from interest to opportunity".

Mr Gorman was at China’s biggest motor show primarily for regional Ford meetings, but also because of the unveiling of the Ford Focus sedan concept, which was worked on at Broadmeadows.

While Ford is a late entrant into the booming Chinese market, it is making a huge effort to catch up with the Focus the highlight of its Beijing presence, while the Territory and LTD made up a substantial support act. The two Australian-built cars have stayed in China for more assessment.

"Interest (from Ford Motor China) was in both LWB sedan and Territory, so the interest was in the platform, because if you do the platform you can do whatever you want," Mr Gorman said.

"There is definitely interest but it is far too early to say if anything comes of it. But I think the encouraging thing for Australia is that we were there." Mr Gorman said the next step would be up to the chairman & CEO of Ford Motor China, Mei Wei Cheng.

"Mei Wei has to decide what he wants for his product portfolio going forward and then we work very closely with him," Mr Gorman said.

"But it has to come from him and then we respond to that as the source, but that’s no different to what Holden does with its exports to the Middle East.

"Given all that, there’s a lot that can happen in the next couple of years." Ford Australia is already heavily involved as an Asia-Pacific design and engineering leader. It has been deeply involved in the development of the Fiesta-based replacement for the Ikon small car, which will sell in China, India and other Asian markets.

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