US carmaker Ford Motor Co plans to build a US$760 million assembly plant in Hangzhou in Zhejiang Province, which will help it to catch up with other global rivals in the Chinese auto market.
The building of the factory, capable of producing 250,000 vehicles annually, by Ford's Chinese joint venture Changan Ford Mazda Automobile Co will begin later this year, according to Ford's statement yesterday. The factory will increase Ford's total ouput capacity in China to 1.2 million units annually when it opens in 2015.
Ford plans to launch 15 new models and 20 new powertrains - the mechanism that transmits the drive from the engine of a vehicle to its axle - in China by 2015 to catch up with General Motors and Volkswagen in the world's largest auto market. China is a central focus in Ford's strategy to increase global sales to 8 million units by 2020.
"Building this plant helps lay the foundation for that growth and reconfirms our commitment to China, which is expected to have sales of about 30 million vehicles by 2020," Joe Hinrichs, president of Ford Asia Pacific and Africa, said in the statement.
Ford is also expanding the capacity at its Chongqing facility after adding a second plant there.
"So far, Ford's investments in China and across Asia represent its largest and most rapid global expansion in 50 years," Hinrichs aded.