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Ford aims to double car sales in China [04/24/2006]

Ford aims to double car sales in China

CHONGQING, China (UPI) -- The Ford Motor Co., making up for its poor performance in the United States, this year plans to double sales in China with its joint venture in Chongqing.

Last year, Changan Ford Mazda registered a sales volume of 61,000 -- a 41 percent increase from the previous year -- said Cheng Meiwei, chairman and chief executive of Ford China, but this year it expects to double that number on the back of robust Chinese car sales, particularly of small compacts, the South China Morning Post reported Monday.

Cheng said the company would increase the number of dealers from 150 to 200.

Ford last week reported a $1.19 billion loss for the first quarter, its worst result in more than four years, as global revenue fell 9 percent to $41.1 billion.

Ford is a relative latecomer to China, the world's second-largest car market, with a market share of just 1.5 percent, trailing Volkswagen's 17.3 percent and General Motors' 11 percent.

Its joint-venture Chongqing plant in southwestern China recently finished expanding its annual capacity to 200,000 units, and new assembly and engine plants with a capacity of 160,000 vehicles and 350,000 engines are expected to open early next year.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

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