Ford of Britain says rises in emerging market domestic capacity - particularly from huge Chinese capability as well as neighbouring Russia's desire to emulate it - will be an increasing feature of the automotive landscape.

"There is a massive build up of capacity in China and the Russians are looking over the wall and saying "maybe we should be doing some of that", Ford of Britain managing director Nigel Sharp told just-auto at last night's Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) dinner in London.

"The Chinese market is being soaked up in China for now but that is for now. Eventually, China will not be happy about selling domestically, it will want to set up for export."

Warming to his capacity theme Sharp made his comments as production surplus continues to remain a key issue in the industry. The Ford of Britain MD was speaking as Opel prepares imminently to shut down its Antwerp plant in Belgium.

"No-one likes closing plants but it is a necessity," he said. "You can't run too long on sentiment - our industry ebbs and flows."

Sharp also contrasted overcapacity in Europe with the US response, which was to close plants, while highlighting the continuing challenge of the British automotive industry with currency fluctuations.

"It is a tough game, particularly in the UK, because we have the had the devaluation of the pound versus the Euro," he said.

[Ford's India operation has already begun exports of the previous generation-based Figo to overseas markets including Africa - ed.]