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Friday, October 27, 2006

Ford Looks To China, Too Bad It Won't Work

Stocks: (HMC)(F)(GM)(TM)

Bill Ford says that the company that bears his family's name can look to Asian sales to help offset the disaster of its North American operations. In the first nine months of 2006, Ford's sales in China more that doubled compared to the same period in 2005.

Ford's problem in China is simple. It has all the same competitors in China that it has in North America, plus some players who are local. Ford's optimism about the world's most populated country in the world is based on a false assumption which is that he can do better against his rivals in China than he does in his home market of the United States.

VW sold almost 525,000 vehicles in China the first nine months of the year. GM sold 645,000 vehicles there. Honda's sales for the period were 226,000. And, Toyota's were 203,000. Ford lagged with under 115,000 units in the first nine months.

With Ford well behind the other car companies in the large Asian market, Mr. Ford has to be able to do the math. China won't save him.

Douglas A. McIntyre can be reached at He does not own securities in companies that he writes about.

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