Ford Motor Co. and joint venture partner Changan Ford Mazda Automobile are investing an additional $600 million in its southwest China facility to boost annual production by more than 50% to help achieve its goal of selling 8 million vehicles each year by 2015. Ford disclosed that this would increase production to 950,000 annually at the Chongqing plant, which is the automaker's largest facility outside southwest Michigan.
The new investment will boost the total investment of Ford in China to around $4.1 billion, the automaker stated. This new investment comes as Changan Ford Mazda (the joint venture of Ford, Chongqing Changan Automobile and Mazda Motor) is set to recall more than 62,000 vehicles to fix faulty anti-lock braking systems.
It also comes after this week's remarks from Ford that it will post a "small loss" in Asia for the first quarter despite the fact that it increased its U.S. sales forecast for the year. The loss was due to the major new investment in new products like the mid-sized pickup truck Ford Ranger in Africa and Asia, the introduction of the Ford Focus in China, and the expenditures of an expanded Chongqing facility.
Ford disclosed that a larger Chongqing factory, which will have a new assembly line, paint and body shop, would aid the company to achieve its 2015 goal of increasing worldwide sales by almost 50% to around 8 million vehicles annually. Ford is a comparatively late-starter in China, where Volkswagen AG and General Motors already have a substantial lead. To narrow the gap, Ford intends to introduce 15 new automobiles to China by 2015, beginning with the new Focus model that is set to arrive in Chinese showrooms by the second quarter.