DETROIT ( TheStreet) -- Five years into the Alan Mulally era at Ford ( F - Get Report), the automaker is shifting its focus from its U.S. turnaround to dramatic international growth. "We have the foundation now to serve a much wider range of customers worldwide," said CEO Alan Mulally, concluding a three-hour investor day presentation Tuesday afternoon.
At the start of the conference, Mulally noted "we've been working toward this day for five years," and he welcomed the chance to talk about "where is Ford going in the longer run." Later, Mulally, who is 65, parried an analyst's question about how long he will stay with Ford. "I absolutely am honored to be serving Ford, and I look forward to helping to accelerate the implementation of this plan," he said. Shifting to a global focus is not a new concept for Ford; it has been a theme for more than a year. It is, in fact, a necessity because Ford so badly trails rivals in the key Asian markets of China and India. But on Tuesday, for the first time, Ford attached numbers to its growth intentions. Among them, by mid-decade the automaker wants to increase worldwide sales by about 50% to about 8 million vehicles, up from 5.3 million in 2010. By 2020, Ford wants small vehicles to represent about 55% of sales, up from 48% today. About 32% of its sales would come from the Asia Pacific and Africa, more than doubling its current percentage of sales from the region. In terms of margin, Ford said it wants mid-decade global automotive operating margins to increase the 8% to 9% range, from 6.1% in 2010, while North American operating margin in the 8% to 10% range. Additionally, Ford's debt reduction efforts will continue, taking automotive debt to about $10 billion, down from $16.6 billion at the end of the first quarter. The key to growth in China and India is for Ford to expand its limited product offering. By 2015, Ford would expand its China line from five to 15 products and its India line from three to eight products. In India, for instance, Ford increased sales by 3% by adding a single product, the Figo. In China, Ford currently has about a 4% market share, while GM ( GM - Get Report) has about a 14% share. The good news is rapid growth in the entire China auto market, and Ford's plan to increase its product mix so it is not just in the larger car market when most Chinese consumers are buying smaller cars. Ford said it can reduce prices in emerging markets by creating lower-priced versions of global vehicles.