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Ford boosts China sales as it races foreign rivals
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Ford Motor Co sales grew 30 percent in China over the first three quarters of the year as price cuts put more buyers behind the wheels of Focus sedans.


The company sold 149,455 vehicles in China from January to September under the Ford, Lincoln, Volvo, Jaguar and Land Rover brands, Ford China said in a statement yesterday.


The sales surge outpaced half-year growth of 25 percent, and the company's performance is expected to exceed overall growth in China's automotive market.


"Our strategic deployment in China continues to return exceptional results," said Mei-wei Cheng, chairman and chief executive officer of Ford Motor (China) Ltd.


Ford-brand vehicles, including domestically produced and imported passenger cars and commercial vehicles, posted sales of 135,073 units, while the company's premium brands - Volvo, Jaguar and Land Rover - sold 14,063 units, a 72-percent rise in the first three quarters compared with the same period last year.


Chang'an Ford Mazda Automobile Co Ltd, Ford's domestic tie-up with Chang'an Automobile Group and Japan's Mazda Motor Corp, reported that its nine-month wholesale volume jumped 59 percent to 150,365 units, which includes both Fords and Mazdas.


The Chinese-made Ford Focus generated high demand, with sales surging 69 percent to 90,249 units. The car maker offered discounts up to seven percent, ranging from 6,000 yuan (US$800) to 12,000 yuan, in July to boost sales during the slack season.


Although Ford has increased sales rapidly in China over the past two years, it still lags overseas rivals General Motors Corp and Volkswagen AG because of its late market entry.


Also yesterday, Ford opened a new engineering center in Nanjing.


Measures, including the launch of the company's flagship Mondeo sedan in November and the opening of a new plant in Nanjing, are also part of Ford's efforts to catch up with its international rivals.


"With the continual introduction of exciting new products, we will be able to maintain our exceptional growth and ongoing success in the China market," Cheng said.


(Shanghai Daily October 10, 2007)


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