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Thailand, ASEAN bright spots for Ford as sales jump by 20%

RAYONG, Thailand -- Car sales in China and Europe may be slowing down, but Southeast Asia is on a tear.

Ford Motor Co. said Friday that industry-wide sales are up 20 percent so far this year in its ASEAN region, which is made up of Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, the Philippines and Malaysia. That's double the pace of sales increases in China and the U.S. in July.

Thailand, which is seeing a spike in sales as the country recovers from last year's flooding, is up 40 percent from a year ago, said Matt Bradley, the president of Ford's ASEAN region. Bradley and other Ford executives were visiting Ford's new plant in Rayong on Friday to mark the production of Ford's 350 millionth vehicle in its 109-year history.

ASEAN is still a relatively small player in the global industry, with total annual sales of 3.5 million. By comparison, China, the world's largest car market, saw sales of 18.5 million last year, while U.S. sales were 12.8 million.

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