Ford Optimistic About Increased Sales In Europe For 2007

Auto company also interested in acquiring Daewoo assembly plant in Romania.

GENEVA (AP) – Ford Motor Co. Europe Chief Executive John Fleming said Wednesday that the company hopes to exceed the 118,000 cars it sold there last year and said the company is still interested in acquiring a Daewoo assembly plant in Romania.

''I think we can sell more cars in Russia this year than we did last year,'' Fleming said, without citing a specific figure.

The automaker is in the midst of a massive overhaul under which it is cutting jobs and closing plants as it loses market share in the U.S. to Asian automakers.

On Tuesday, rival General Motors Corp., the world's biggest automaker, said it hopes to sell 200,000 cars in Russia, a market that many automotive manufacturers are targeting.

Fleming said sales should be up for Ford's entire European operation because of increased demand in emerging markets, particularly in eastern Europe and Russia. Currently, Ford builds around 70,000 Focus models a year in St. Petersburg.

He also said that the company was interested in acquiring the former Daewoo factory in Romania, which is now in government hands and expected to be auctioned off. Acquiring the plant could help Ford expand production to meet demand in Russia.