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Old 06-25-2002, 07:31   #1 (permalink)
Mr. Embargo
 
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Embargoland
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Ford Begins Production of Fusion Hatchback to Win Market Share

By Bret Okeson

Cologne, Germany, June 24 (Bloomberg) -- Ford Motor Co. began production of the Fusion car as the world's second-largest carmaker seeks to take market share from competitors in Europe.

The company plans to make 69,000 Fusions this year at a rate of 680 per day at a factory in Cologne, Germany, Ford said in an e- mailed statement. The factory also builds Fiestas and has a capacity of 1,800 vehicles a day.

Ford has won market share in Western Europe from rivals such as General Motors Corp. and Volkswagen AG. The carmaker will add the Fusion to a line-up that includes the Fiesta and Mondeo cars. Ford's European operations were profitable in the first quarter in contrast to losses in North America.

The company has saved costs with the Fusion by sharing parts with the Fiesta. Ford and its suppliers have spent 525 million euros ($513 million) in upgrading the factory.

``After the complete renovation, our factory is a leading example for auto construction in Europe,'' said Rolf Zimmermann, the head of Ford's German unit in an e-mailed statement.

The new car is designed for young families with children and has a starting price of 13,950 euros ($13,645). The company is offering one diesel version and two gasoline versions of the car. The Fusion is a five-door hatchback, with the roof 7 centimeters (2.8 inches) higher than the Fiesta's to provide more space
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