.S-based Ford Motor Co. began building a new plant in China's southwest Chongqing city Friday, mainly to produce the next generation Focus car.
Covering about 100 hectares with a total investment of 3.34 billion yuan (490 million U.S. dollars), the plant is being jointly built by the Changan Ford Mazda Automobile Co. Ltd., a joint venture of Ford; Chongqing-based Chana Auto Co. Ltd. and Japan's Mazda Motor Corp..
The plant, the second in Chongqing and third in China, will have an annual output of 150,000 cars after completion in 2012.
"China is one of Ford's most important markets in the world and also the fastest growing market," said Ford's CEO Allan Mulally at the foundation stone laying ceremony of the new Ford plant.
"The new plant in Chongqing is an important step for Ford to expand its business in China," he said.
Ford will introduce four new models to China in the next three years. Ford's new engines and new energy aotomobiles will also be introduced to the Chinese market gradually, he said.
"I believe that with concerted efforts from all sides, Changan Ford Mazda cars will win consumers' favor with excellent products and services, and the joint venture will become a model for China's auto market," said Xu Liuping, board chairman of Changan.
Changan Ford Mazda Automobile Co. Ltd has sold 144,601 cars under the Ford brand in the first eight months of 2009, up 30 percent on the previous year.
Ford is recovering rapidly from the global financial crisis. It is speeding up the restructuring and integration of its global resources in order to turn losses into gains in 2010, said Mulally.
(Xinhua News Agency September 26, 2009)