"We see the global economy improving, but obviously it is uneven," said Mark Fields, Ford president for the Americas, at an investor conference Thursday. "We do expect global growth to continue going forward."
China and India will grow, the U.S. will grow moderately and Europe is "a little bit of a worry spot," he said.
Ford will replace about 30% of its volume this year, said Fields, noting that "our replacement rate is at the top or right near the top of the industry [and] our approach is to make sure pipeline continues to remain full." He declined to specify a ceiling for Ford market share, which has climbed to 16.7% year-to-date from a low of 14.2% in 2008. During the past three decades, Ford's high point was 25.5% in 1996.Market share gains and increased pricing power will help to offset Ford's anticipated $1 billion in new costs this year, partially due to higher commodity costs and higher costs associated with volume increases and new product introductions. Ford's big three introductions in 2010 include a new power train for the F-150 pickup, a new Ford Explorer (below) and the new Focus.
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