Lebanon helps drive 12% sales growth for Ford Middle East

Seeing an upward trend in MENA sales, Ford is now looking to expand further

Hind Mustafa - Al Arabiya News, Dubai
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Ford Middle East has entered the fast lane having today reported record sales of 85,000 cars during 2013, a 12 percent increase from last year.

Lebanon topped Ford’s ranking of Middle Eastern countries by sales growth, said Thierry Sabbagh, the company’s sales director, with a 120 percent rise.

Iraq was a close second with a 100 percent growth from the previous year.

Kuwait posted the lowest sales growth in the region, Sabbagh told Al Arabiya News, without specifying a percentage.

“We had some challenges in Kuwait last year, but we are now in the recovery period.”

The company did not disclose sales figures on a market-by-market basis. In general, however, sales in the Middle East market are rising, it said.

Kalyana Sivagnanam, the director of Middle East and North Africa at Ford MEA said, "This region had a growth of over 12 percent the last year alone, and has grown by over 50 percent in the last four years."

In January, Ford established a new business unit specifically for the Middle East and Africa region to operate as an independent headquarters, " rather than just a regional office [operated from the U.S.]," added the director.

After witnessing consistent sales growth, the automobile company is now aiming to expand its reach further.

"In 2013, Ford will launch seven new products, and in the next 24 months, we will be launching 17 new or refreshed products. That is about one new product every 45 days," said Sivagnanam.

Ford Middle East has also expanded its dealership network, launching “20 new locations [across the region], and in the next two years, we expect to open 14 new sales and service locations to be close to the customer," he added.

The Lincoln brand showed a regional growth of "50 percent, whereas in the UAE itself, we grew the Lincoln brand by almost 100 percent [in 2013]," Sabbagh said.

The executives praised the performance of their local dealers in the UAE Al Tayer Motors, the local importer-dealer for Ford and Lincoln, and Premier Motors, the official Ford and Lincoln dealer in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain, recording a strong retail sales growth of 33 percent.

The sales results come shortly after Ford Motor Company announced 2,493,918 unit sales in the U.S., highlighting the brand as America's best-selling vehicle brand for the fourth consecutive year, according to statements released by the company.

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