Ford lines up new models to double sales
Ford Motor, a latecomer to the mainland vehicle market, aims to double sales this year by introducing new models and expanding its network of dealerships.
The company, which saw sales increase 113 per cent last year to 166,000 units on strong demand for its medium-sized Focus model, plans to add a new Mondeo and S-Max next year.
Its mainland venture, Ford Motor (China), is going to add 30 dealerships to its existing 200-strong network.
'Economy cars are going to continue to experience major demand in China's vehicle industry over the next five years, as they are more affordable,' Ford China chairman Cheng Meiwei said yesterday.
The Focus is still expected to be the main driver of sales. The model recorded 80,000 sales last year, up 87 per cent from 2005, and growth rate for this year is estimated at 100 per cent.
The company sold 43,000 vehicles in the first quarter, 16.4 per cent more than last year.
'We're confident to have a growth rate faster than the Chinese vehicle market at the end of the year.' Mr Cheng said.
Ford has a 3 per cent market share in the mainland. Including its brands Volvo, Jaguar and Land Rover, the company has 5 per cent of the market, according to the carmaker.
However, Mr Cheng said Ford had no intention of cutting prices to compete with rivals.
Ford China has two passenger car plants in the mainland, in Chongqing and Nanjing. The former has production capacity of 250,000 units a year while the latter can make 160,000 units annually.
The Nanjing plant mainly produces the Mazda 2 and the Chongqing plant handles the Focus, Mondeo and S-Max.
Ford China was established in Shanghai in 1995 and in 2002 the company formed a joint venture with Chongqing Changan Automobile, the country's fourth-largest carmaker by sales.
Ford later teamed up with Mazda after buying a 33.4 per cent stake in the Japanese carmaker.