Ford Motor Co. Posts Record Performance in ASEAN Region, While Automakers Gear Up for Detroit Show

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) is down 0.15% in late trading, after U.S. employers hired the fewest amount of workers in nearly three years for December. Nonfarm payrolls rose 74,000 in December, which was far short of the 200,000 expected by most economists. The unemployment rate fell by 0.3 percentage points to 6.7%, which was the lowest level since 2008, however it mainly reflected people leaving the labor force. As we put the finishing touches on the market's first full week in 2014 here are some companies making headlines. 

Outside of the Dow, Cummins (NYSE: CMI  ) was declared the 2013 Newsmaker of the Year by Diesel Progress North American magazine. It had been six years since Cummins last won the award, and the company's broad range of on- and off-highway engine introductions and its powertrain partnership with Eaton helped secure the honor again.

Increasingly strict global emission regulation standards should bring strong demand for Cummins' diesel engines over the next few years. That could help boost Cummins' already strong engines market share in North America, where it owns 61% and 40% of the medium-duty and heavy-duty truck markets, respectively.

Ford (NYSE: F  ) said this week it posted its all-time best performance in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations region in 2013. Sales in the region rose more than 7% year over year to nearly 96,000 units. Thailand drives the volume in the ASEAN region, with the Ranger, Focus, and EcoSport leading Ford's sales charge. Both the Ranger and Focus nameplates posted their best-ever full-year of sales, which will help continue strong  momentum in 2014.

While the ASEAN region is far from boosting Ford's top or bottom lines, the company can't afford to be late to the race in any emerging market, as it was in China. Ford's making sure that doesn't happen again and is focusing on growing its brand and improving product quality across its global lineup -- something investors should be very happy about.

Ford's next F-150 design could be very similar to above Atlas concept. Photo credit: Ford

In other automotive news, Ford, General Motors (NYSE: GM  ) , Chrysler, and the rest of the automotive industry are gearing up for Monday's start of the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. The show always produces more vehicle debuts than any other, as well as many executives who are looking to make news.

More than 5,000 automotive journalists and an estimated 750,000 potential car buyers are set to run through the auto show, which shouldn't disappoint as the industry is in the middle of a new product surge. Some of the highly anticipated models include Ford's next-generation design of its F-150 truck, which is expected to steal the show.

General Motors will also unleash its GMC Canyon, which marks the return to the midsize truck segment that Ford has yet to reenter. GM's new Chevrolet Corvette Z06 will also be making an appearance; as will Ford's new 2015 Mustang.  Expect the Porsche 911 Targa, the Lexus RC F coupe, and the Mercedes-Benz S600 to make some noise as well. Stay tuned next week, it should be exciting for automotive investors and gearheads alike. 

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