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Ford to invest $10-15 million in Andean region
Wed January 28, 2004 05:44 PM ET

CARACAS, Venezuela, Jan 28 (Reuters) - Ford Motor Co. , one of the world's top carmakers, will invest between $10 million and $15 million this year to launch five new products in the Andean region and boost its market share, the company's regional president said on Wednesday.
"We have investments of $10 million to $15 million planned in the Andean region, with an emphasis in Venezuela where the products are manufactured and assembled," Ford's Emmanuel Cassingena told Reuters.

The company expects to double production in 2004 to 32,000 units in its Venezuelan plant, of which 24,000 will remain in Venezuela with the rest exported to Colombia and Ecuador.

In 2003, Ford invested $30 million in the Andean region, of which 75 percent went to Venezuela. Ford's Venezuela plant has the capacity to produce 300 vehicles daily.

Cassingena said the output rise was geared toward meeting higher regional demand.

In the Venezuelan market, "We are optimistic that we are going to grow from market penetration of 20 percent to 24 percent," he said.

Last year, Ford's sales to Venezuela barely tipped 12,000 units. Total car sales fell 50 percent to 63,726 units in 2003 as a recession in the world's No. 5 crude exporter deepened due to a crippling two-month oil strike.

Ford expects Venezuelan demand to rebound to 100,000 units this year as the oil-rich nation's economy improves, Cassingena said.

In Colombia's 95,000-unit market, Ford hopes to boost its market share to 5 percent from between 3.2 and 3.9 percent last year. The company also plans to increase its share of the 55,000-unit Ecuador market from 4.5 percent in 2003 to 5 to 6 percent in 2004.
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