Ford Motor Co.'s operations in China is worth $15 billion (CHY92 billion), according to a Morgan Stanley report published in September. The value represents over a fifth of Ford's stock-market value and exceeds that of Mazda Motor Corp. and Fiat Group. Adam Jonas, an analyst for Morgan Stanley, wrote in the report that the rollout of Ford's plants, products and dealer network in China has been "breathtaking."
Such praise came although Ford currently lags behind other carmakers in China. Ford only established a joint venture in China six years after General Motors and over a decade after Volkswagen Group. GM and VW are among the market leaders in China. Ford’s production in China and in other Asian countries now exceeds its output in Europe.
The carmaker is expected to have the capacity to build more cars and trucks in Asia in 2015 than it produced in North America in 2012.
A growing middle class in countries like China means that around two or three customers are looking forward to buying their own vehicles. "It's so aspirational and such a big deal," said Joe Hinrichs, who was responsible for Ford's manufacturing and Asia operations before moving to the Americas late 2012.
"It's the freedom that comes from the ability to own your own transportation that's never been had in your family,” Hinrichs remarked. The carmaker is celebrating 100 years of the start of Henry Ford's assembly line on Oct. 7, 1913.