Chang'an Ford plans to introduce at least one new model every year to cash in on the fast-growing Chinese car market, said Ford Motor Co, the world's No 2 automaker and a partner in Chang'an.
The plan was unveiled on Saturday by Ron Tyack, president of Chang'an Ford, when Ford launched the compact Fiesta model at the joint venture's headquarters in Southwest China's Chongqing Municipality.
The 1.3-litre or 1.6-litre Fiesta is the first passenger car made in China by Ford, a company widely seen as a late comer to the Chinese market.
Ford, outmanoeuvred by rival General Motors in 1997 regarding a Shanghai sedan project, set up the joint venture with Chang'an Motor Corp, China's largest mini-vehicle maker, in early 2001.
According to David Thursfield, president of Ford's international operations, the company will launch the Mondeo sedan at Chang'an Ford later this year as its second passenger car made in China.
Ford exported around 1,000 Mondeo Ghia-X cars, made in Taiwan Province, to the Chinese mainland last year.
"It is quite possible that we will build our other brands (besides Ford), such as Volvo and Landrover, in China and we can not depend on one product in China," Thursfield said in an interview on the eve of the Fiesta launch.
Mazda Motor Corp, another Ford affiliate, will launch its M6 sedan on January 21 at First Automotive Works Corp (FAW), one of China's top-three automakers, under a technical licensing-production deal.
"Mazda has a position in FAW, and we want to see how it develops," Thursfield told China Daily when asked whether Ford intends to form a strategic alliance with FAW through Mazda's connection with the Chinese automaker.
(China Daily January 20, 2003)