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Old 06-16-2003, 08:19   #1 (permalink)
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Asia: Ford's Chinese venture plans to double sales outlets

Monday, June 16, 2003

Global Automotive Report
By Detroit News staff reports, Bloomberg News and wire services

BEIJING -- Ford Motor Co.'s joint venture in China, which started producing cars in January, will double the number of sales outlets this year to try to take market share from rivals, said Mei Wei Cheng, the unit's chief executive.

Changan Ford Automobile Co. will boost the number of dealerships to about 52 by the end of the year from 26 now, Cheng said in an interview. They will sell passenger cars, including the Fiesta, which the company began selling this year, and the Mondeo, due to go on the market next year, as well as pick-up models.

"We're looking to expand as aggressively as possible to reach local consumers," Cheng said in an interview in Beijing.

Ford expects to sell 20,000 cars in China this year through the venture, less than a fifth of Detroit-based General Motors Corp.'s vehicle sales there last year. Wolfsburg, Germany-based Volkswagen AG sold more than 500,000 cars in China last year, making it the automaker's second-largest market after its home country.

Ford expects sales to rise to 50,000 cars in 2004, Executive Vice President David Thursfield said Saturday at a lunch at Ford headquarters in Dearborn. The unit is expected to be profitable during the fourth quarter, he said.
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