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Ford Motors Company, the giant automotive company is looking to expand its business in Sub-Saharan Africa including Ethiopia as it believes the market is growing.  “We have forecasted 40 percent growth in the number of cars that are going to be sold in Africa between now and the end of the decade. We want to be a part of that and in fact we want to lead the pack. That is why we are here and that is why we are visiting Ethiopia and conducting discussions with our partners, to understand what some of their challenges are and how we might be able to help and get more Fords on the road,” said Jeffery Nemeth, President and CEO of Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa who visited Ethiopia this week.
The president stated at a press conference held on Wednesday September 3rd 2014, that currently Ford has a 9 to 10 percent market share in Ethiopia.
“To put that into perspective, our market share in Europe is about 9 percent, in South Africa it is about 13 percent, in China it is about 4 percent and in the US we have about 15 percent. So 10 percent in Ethiopia is a pretty good number,” Nemeth said.
Ford has been present in Africa, more specifically in South Africa for a long time. The company currently has a manufacturing plant in South Africa which is also its biggest market on the continent.
“Our largest market is in South Africa as far as Africa goes, we have been there the longest. The Ford Company was established in 1903 and we sold the first car in South Africa in 1904. We had our manufacturing center there in 1923 so we have been manufacturing in South Africa for 91 years. We sell about 70,000 cars a year there,” Nemeth stated.
Although Ford’s manufacturing plant in South Africa has a big capacity, the company is also exploring opportunities in some sub-Saharan countries to open another plant.
“We are continuing to look for opportunities in Sub-Saharan Africa and assessing things but we have not decided yet. One of the things that I would say Ford is really good at is that we take more time to assess before we decide to invest. But when we do decide to invest, we stick with it,” Nemeth stated.
Ford recently announced that it is bringing 25 new model vehicles to Middle East and African markets, specifically 17 in Sub-Saharan Africa, by 2016 as part of its expansion plans in its newest business unit, Middle East and Africa (MEA). Spanning Saudi Arabia to South Africa, and Nigeria to Kenya, Ford’s new MEA unit is comprised of 67 markets. 
“We believe that Ethiopia is in the top half of the growth potential nations in the 67 markets we have. The country has a strong government, a strong rule of law, a robust economy and a good education system,” Nemeth said.
Ford works in Ethiopia with its official distributor Ries Engineering Share Company. According to Fekadu Mengistu, Deputy Managing Director of Ries, his company in collaboration with Ford is currently building three new facilities; one sales office and two maintenance service facilities that are being built at a total cost of 150 million Birr. The facilities are expected to go operational by the end of 2014.