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Fiesta designed for families

Members of Tiny Toones perform at the Fiesta’s launch. Photo by: HENG CHIVOAN

CAMBODIA’S first small car designed for middle-class families was launched last week.

The Ford Fiesta four-door 1.4-litre sedan costs $26,000 and with its safety features and fuel economy, importer RMA Cambodia hopes the model will be a cornerstone of its expansion plans in southeast Asia, according to RMA Cambodia country manager Rami Sharaf.

“This car is the answer for Cambodia’s middle classes,” he said at the launch last Thursday at Ford’s Service Centre in Phnom Penh.

“We already sold four before the official launch and the sky’s the limit when it comes to importing them,” he said. The model is made in Thailand.At present there are no plans to import the hatchback Fiesta or the 1.6-litre model, he said.

After a traditional Khmer blessing dance, the Fiesta was launched in a blaze of hip hop music with an energetic, infectiously happy performance by dancers from Phnom Penh’s Tiny Toones group, which has just released its first CD, Generation Z.

Their edgy haircuts and acrobatic moves cast a spell of cool over the curvy lines of the car, which comes in 11 shades of paint and has already sold more than 1 million units.

Inside, there are plenty of compartments to store luggage and everyday items such as handbags and drinks – and the centre console has an iPod port for the ultimate in portable music.

For peace of mind, each car comes with a Ford care package, ensuring trouble-free maintenance and regular services. After-sales service is another area Ford prides itself on in Cambodia, said Sharaf.

David Simpson, Ford’s district manager for southeast Asia, said: “Our renewed commitment to Cambodia is part of a broader strategy for Ford in which Asia is playing an increasingly important role.

“The continent is expected to account for the majority of the growth in the auto industry over the next five to seven years. More significantly, Asia is expected to provide nearly 70 percent of the growth for Ford’s global operations during the same time.”

The company’s investment in the region included more than US$3 billion to set up manufacturing and export hubs to meet explosive demand in countries such as Cambodia, he said.

“This ensures we’re not only competing in the region but we’re helping drive its growth.”

US ambassador Carol A Rodley spoke of Ford’s humble beginnings with the model T, which helped open up so much of America to the middle classes.

Commerce Minister Pan Sorasak was also present to welcome the car’s launch in Cambodia.

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