Ford Motor Co has launched its third made-in-China passenger model, the Focus, in a fresh effort to boost its small presence in the world's third biggest vehicle market.
The Detroit-based carmaker, expects to sell 8,000 units of the German-designed Focus this year, produced at its joint venture (JV) plant with China's Chang Motor Corp, according to Phil Spender, chief executive officer of the venture.
The 1.8-and-2.0-liter Focus, which was launched on Wednesday, will retail between 129,800 yuan (US$16,000) and 175,800 yuan (US$21,700).
Analysts said the launch of the Focus would further heat up competition in the fast growing mid-range car segment in China
The joint venture, in southwest China's Chongqing Municipality, is also making the Fiesta and Mondeo.
Spender said the JV which now has a maximum production capacity of 200,000 units a year will introduce a new model every year to boost sales.
The JV's sales tumbled to 30,499 units in the first eight months of this year from 34,953 units a year ago, mainly due to the bad performance of the Fiesta model, according to officials from the venture.
However, Yin Jiaxu, chairman of the JV, said the venture's full-year sales in 2005 will grow at a faster pace than that of China's car market with the launch of the Focus.
Industry statistics showed sales of China-made passenger vehicles grew by 15.09 per cent year-on-year to 2.45 million units from January to August this year.
"China will overtake Japan as the world's second biggest vehicle market next year or within two years," Spender said.
(China Daily September 23, 2005)