Ford CEO expects China to become an export hub

Published by Gerald Ferreira | Friday June 21, 2013

Ford CEO expects China to become an export hub

Ford chief executive Alan Mulally expects China to become its export hub, although the carmaker’s current concern is how to cater to increasing demand in the country. Mulally said in a Bloomberg TV interview that it is only a matter of time when Ford will start exporting from China. He said that all of Ford’s facilities are positioned to support all the markets around the world from any location.

Mullaly was in China to grace the opening of a manufacturing site in Nanchang at one of Ford's local partners, Jiangling Motors Corp. The site will increase the carmaker’s annual capacity in China from the existing 245,000 units by 300,000 vehicles. The Nanchang site will build both Ford- and JMC-brand vehicles.

Ford is pouring $4.9 billion in China as part of its bid to catch up with Volkswagen Group and General Motors. Mullaly said that Ford’s emphasis in China has been bearing fruits. The carmaker’s sales in the country are surging faster than expected.

Ford is also the fastest-growing major foreign carmaker in China this year, after posting 48-percent jump in vehicle sales in the first five months of 2013. John Zeng, managing director at LMC Automotive, remarked that Ford's expansion in China this year exceeded their expectations. He quipped that Ford “holds all the aces” in China this year since its new products are well accepted by local consumers.

Ford’s China chief David Schoch remarked in April 2013 that the carmaker eyes to gain a 6-percent share of the Chinese vehicle market by 2015. Ford is planning to bring in two new global products -- a new Ford commercial vehicle and new Ford SUV -- through Jiangling Motors to broaden its product lineup in China. Ford and Jiangling Motors have disclosed plans to construct an engine plant with 200,000 units in initial annual capacity. [source: automotive news - sub. required]