SHANGHAI – Ford sold a total of 166,722 vehicles in China in 2006, up 86.6 percent over the previous year.
Of those sales, Ford-branded cars and commercial vehicles accounted for 155,404 units, up 73,306 units or 89.3 percent over 2005.
“The China market is a critical part of our plans for building a stronger Ford Motor Company, and the 2006 results clearly indicated that we are on the right track for achieving that goal,” said Mei-Wei Cheng, chairman and CEO of Ford China.
Chang’an-Ford-Mazda’s share of Ford total sales was a record 129,790 units, up 112.7 percent over the previous year. In 2006 Chang’an-Ford-Mazda also began to produce Mazda and Volvo brands at its Chongqing facility. The company’s Nanjing assembly plant, with an initial annual production capacity of 160,000 units, is scheduled to start production in the second half of 2007.
The Ford Focus became one of the top selling models in China’s C market segment, with 78,430 units sold. Meanwhile, sales of the Mondeo reached 47,651 units, up 15 percent over the previous year.
Sales of the Ford Transit light commercial van produced by Jiangling Motor Corp. (JMC) increased to 22,973 units, up 25.4 percent, a much bigger increase than for its commercial vehicle segment as a whole, which averaged 13.26 percent in 2006 according to CBU-Autostats Vol. 10 No. 11.
Ford’s sales of imported and locally produced luxury brands, including Jaguar, Land Rover and Volvo, climbed to 10,914 units in 2006, up 60 percent from 2005. Local production of the Volvo S40, which began in July 2006, contributed significantly to sales growth for the brand in China.
“The company’s $1 billion-plus expansion plan, announced by Bill Ford in 2003, is about to be completed,” said Cheng. “Construction of Chang’an-Ford-Mazda’s Nanjing plant and engine company are both coming along very well.” They will both start production in 2007.
Ford Motor Co. Chairman Bill Ford announced in October 2003 that Ford, together with its Chinese partners, would invest over $1 billion in increasing production capacity, building a new engine plant, introducing new models and expanding the national sales network.
Ford Automobile Finance (China) Ltd. (FAFC) now offers dealer stock financing services to Chang’an-Ford-Mazda and JMC dealers. By the end of 2006, in addition to wholesale financing services covering over 100 Ford authorized dealers, FAFC was offering retail financing service to end customers in 26 major cities across China.
Ford’s China Sourcing Office (CSO) bought $2.6 billion worth of auto parts and systems from China in 2006 to support the company’s global manufacturing operations and aftersales services. CSO is working closely with its suppliers in China to enhance product quality and technical capability and also to further expand its sourcing volume from China, said Cheng.
One of the latest business developments in China for Ford is its new R&D center in Nanjing, announced in November 2006. The R&D center, with an initial investment of $27.5 million, is to provide support for the company’s worldwide product development, covering all brands.
“Our product development, production, distribution and supporting operations are now well positioned and are moving full speed ahead,” said Cheng.