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Ford Motor Co. plans to produce around 10 new car models based on the platform of the Atenza, a passenger car developed by its Japanese affiliate, Mazda Motor Corp., the president of the U.S. auto giant said Tuesday.

Nick Scheele said Ford will launch the new cars in the United States and other countries starting, possibly as early as next year.

He unveiled the plan during a news conference in Tokyo. He is in Japan to attend the Tokyo Motor Show opening later this week at Makuhari Messe in Chiba.

Scheele said Ford has decided to employ the Atenza's platform in its new cars because the vehicle, sold as the Mazda6 in markets other than Japan, is enjoying huge popularity in Japan and Europe.

Mazda came under the umbrella of Ford in 1996 when the U.S. automaker acquired a 33.4% stake in the Japanese automaker.

The Ford president said the business relations between the two carmakers have deepened in the past several years.

Regarding plans by Toyota Motor Corp. and Nissan Motor Co. to step up their pickup-truck operations in North America, Scheele said the move poses no threat to Ford. He said the company's newly released F Series pickup truck sold extremely well in North America in September.

Pickup trucks are the main source of revenue for Ford.

MT
 
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