|03/18/14 09:53AM||China, Ford, Kuga, Toyota|
Ford Doing Pretty Well in the World's Largest Car Market
Automakers are well aware that China is the world's largest car market, so they are putting a lot of effort into reinforcing their position there. Honda and Toyota have always had very good sales numbers in China, but in recent years, some American and German car makers have been trying pretty hard to make their presence felt and jeopardize the lead role that their Japanese counterparts have had for a long time. General Motors and Ford are especially interested in performing well in the Chinese market, as they can't continue to count on the U.S. and the European market to ensure a large volume of sales in the long run. Over the last twelve months, Ford has been quite successful, and saw a huge jump in sales, which is expected to boost its stock significantly very soon.
Even though Ford came to China relatively late compared to other global car makers, it has managed to become a serious player there pretty quickly, mainly thanks to the popularity that the Focus and the Mondeo enjoy in the world's most populous country. February was a particularly good month for Ford's sales in China, as it was able to sell 73,040 units, which is a 67% increase over the same month of last year. It's an immense growth, which builds on the 53% year-to-year increase they saw in January, and the 35% jump in December 2013. The company said that the main reason for these impressive numbers is the great demand for the Ford Focus, which became the world's best-selling car last year, surpassing the incredibly popular Toyota Corolla, as well as the increased interest for its Ford Mondeo sedan. In total, Ford sold 935,813 vehicles in China last year, 49% more than what it sold in 2012. Sales were also boosted by the introduction of several new models to the Chinese market, such as the new Fiesta and the new Kuga. Currently, Ford has a 3.2% market share in China.
Considering that the Chinese automotive market is expected to continue to grow in the near future, especially in the green cars niche, Ford, like almost every global car maker, has big, long-term plans for this market. They have invested heavily in research and development facilities and plants there, and plans to open two new assembly plants by the end of 2014. Furthermore, they have announced that they are building another plant in the city of Hangzhou in 2015.
Ford expects that these investments will result in even greater sales growth, hoping that this year's sales will surpass the 1 million unit mark. They will continue to introduce new models in China, and they also intend to enter the Chinese luxury vehicle market, which has a great potential.
However, even though Ford saw a major sales growth in China in 2013, it still hasn't come close to the dominant position that General Motors is holding at the moment, with 3.16 million units sold last year. But, considering that Ford plans to ramp up production drastically over the next few years, it could catch up with its main competitor pretty soon.