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By Matt Nauman, Knight Ridder Newspapers

Ford Motor Co. is turning to the Internet to market its cars and trucks in Vietnamese, Korean and Chinese.

A new Ford Web site, fordvehicles.com/asia, is scheduled to be officially unveiled Saturday at the Chinese New Year Festival and Parade in San Francisco, which Ford sponsors.

Ford believes it is the first domestic automaker to offer such information via the Internet in these languages, spokesman Mitchell Johnson said.

A check of Web pages of 29 different car brands Wednesday showed that only Toyota (toyota.com) offers a Chinese-language link on its home page. A company spokeswoman said Chinese was added to Toyota's Web site in April 2003. It offers information on the Camry and the Sienna minivan.

South Korean automaker Hyundai (hyundaiusa.com) offers a Korean-language link. None offers a Vietnamese language link.

Nine automakers have Spanish-language links.

For the time being, Ford's Asian-language sites will only offer downloadable brochures in the three languages. In the future, the company said, other research and purchase tools will be added.
 
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