Ford Motor Company said it plans to launch 17 new or refreshed Ford and Lincoln vehicles in the next 24 months to accelerate growth in the Middle East and Africa – including the Ford Fusion sedan and the EcoSport small SUV.

“The Middle East and Africa is poised to become one of the next big automotive growth markets and we want to be there for these customers with great new cars and trucks,” said Stephen Odell, president, Ford of Europe, Middle East and Africa. “Ford and Lincoln sales have grown 60 percent in the Middle East over the past four years, and we expect total industry sales in the combined Middle East and Africa region to increase nearly 40 percent to around 5.5 million units by 2020.”

Two all-new vehicles are making their Middle East debut during the Dubai Motor Show. The Ford EcoSport small sport utility vehicle is based on Ford’s global B-segment platform.

The all-new Ford Fusion brings mid-size sedan customers a selection of driver-assistance technologies, such as lane keeping assist, blind spot information system, active park assist, and adaptive cruise control.  
Middle East customers also had an opportunity to see the Ford Atlas Concept, which made its premiere outside of North America at the Dubai show.

To take advantage of profitable growth opportunities, Ford is combining the four regions of North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, South Africa and the Middle East into a single business unit. Effective Jan. 1, 2014, all sales, share and financial reporting will be consolidated for the 47 Ford markets throughout the Middle East and Africa. The new Ford Middle East and Africa operation – Ford’s fifth global business unit – will be headquartered in Dubai, according to the automaker.

The Middle East and Africa will be managed in two sub-regions – South Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa, and the Middle East and North Africa. While regional operations will be headquartered in Dubai, Ford will maintain regional offices in both South Africa and Dubai, according to Ford.

According to the automaker, Key priorities for Ford Middle East and Africa include:

  • Bringing more new Ford vehicles to customers in the region through the One Ford global vehicle and technology portfolio, including 17 new or refreshed vehicles in the next 24 months.
  • Supporting Ford’s dealer network throughout the region to service customer needs.
  • Expanding parts accessibility and service support throughout the Middle East and Africa

Leading the new Ford Middle East and Africa region is Jim Benintende, a 36-year Ford veteran who will oversee operations in all 47 markets. Benintende has significant experience in the Middle East and Africa region, most recently as director, Ford Export Operations and Global Growth Initiatives. He also previously served in the Ford Middle East and North Africa region in various roles from 1994-2006.

Ford has a strong heritage in the Middle East as well, with more than six decades of presence in the region, according to the automaker. The company has increased its sales for the Ford and Lincoln brands in the region by nearly 60 percent during the past four years.

In the first three quarters of this year, Ford Middle East recorded strong sales with a nearly 20 percent increase compared to the same period in 2012, according to the company. In the past three months alone, several Ford dealers have opened new facilities in a number of markets, including Al Tayer Motors with its new dealership in Sharjah, UAE. In total, there are more than 60 new Ford and Lincoln sales and service facilities currently in process region-wide to serve the expanding Ford and Lincoln customer base.

Originally posted on Automotive Fleet