Ford Motor Co.’s sales in China soared in the first 2 months of 2015, growing in rank from No. 8 a year ago to No. 5 currently. The brand’s executives believe that its market share of 4.3% will do better than the anticipated 7% growth in the market with the arrival of new products, such as a new Taurus flagship sedan and several new performance cars as well as the opening of Lincoln dealerships.
David Schoch, president of Ford Asia Pacific, said that Ford will experience “a lot of growth” within the next 4-5 years. In 2014, Ford’s sales in China increased 20% to 1.1 million units. In comparison, Ford achieved sales of 483,288 units in 2010. In the first 3 months of 2015, sales jumped 9% to 296,825, exceeding the market’s gain of 4%.
These figures all include passenger and commercial vehicles. By the end of the year, Ford is expected to have a capacity in China to roll out 1.9 million vehicles, which include 1.4 million passenger cars. By the end of 2016, Ford will take over a plant from Changan Hafei in the northern city of Harbin and this will add 200,000 vehicles to its capacity.
According to Ford Motor China CEO John Lawler, the 2015 sales growth should outpace the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers’ 7% gain prediction. However, he didn’t cite a sales target. LMC Automotive’s latest data indicate that Ford is ranked No. 5 in brand sales from the start of the year through February.
The brand is confident that it will be able to sustain its momentum with the onslaught of new products. At the Shanghai auto show, the automaker presented the Ford Performance vehicle range for the Asia Pacific market. In addition, Ford will launch the Taurus sedan, which was designed specifically for China.
The Chinese market is image-conscious, making full-size sedans an important segment as rich customers prefer to ride in the roomy rear seats. IHS Automotive said that through February, sales of full-size passenger cars increased 13% and are predicted to surpass 730,000 for the year. Other models that will start selling this year are a redesigned Explorer SUV, a new Everest SUV, and a re-engineered Edge crossover.
Ford is confident that it will take advantage of the rising SUV market in China that rose 54% in March. Executives shared that Ford has around 800 dealerships and that it is quickly expanding in the more compact and rising markets in the interior.
No target number of outlets was disclosed. In addition, Lincoln is intensifying its product and dealership strategy. Lincoln, which was relaunched last year in China, will be presenting the MKX this year while the Continental will come out in 2016.
Lincoln President Kumar Galhotra said that from having 11 dealers currently, the number will go up to 14 by the end of 2015 and to 60 by the end of 2016.