US auto giant Ford Motor Co and its Chinese partners said yesterday that sales rose a record 44 percent year-on-year last year, with more than 440,000 vehicles sold.
Ford’s passenger car joint-venture in China, Changan Ford Mazda Automobile (長安福特馬自達汽車), sold 315,791 units last year, an increase of 55 percent over the previous year, the company said in a statement.
The joint venture’s sales were boosted by tax cuts on small engine vehicles that strengthened demand for the Focus compact car and the Fiesta subcompact, the US automaker said.
Sales at Ford’s commercial vehicle joint venture, Jiangling Motors Corp (江鈴汽車), totaled 114,688 units, rising 21 percent from 2008, it said.
Ford is increasingly looking to China for growth after a major restructuring and is also in talks with Chinese carmaker Geely (吉利) over the sale of its Swedish brand Volvo.
China overtook the US a year ago to become the largest car market in the world, boosted by Beijing’s efforts to stimulate domestic consumption.
Auto sales for the first 11 months of the year reached 12.23 million units, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers said.
Market leader and fellow US carmaker, General Motors (GM), announced this week it sold a record 1.83 million vehicles in China last year, and expressed optimism for even better results this year.
GM’s results marked a 66.9 percent sales jump year-on-year.
Volkswagen (VW), the biggest European carmaker, also reported yesterday that sales in China hit a record 1.4 million vehicles last year.
The figure represented a leap of 36.7 percent from the 2008 figure of 1.02 million, it said in a statement, adding that “2009 has been an extraordinary year.
“The automotive market went beyond everybody’s expectations,” it said.
The group sold 1.12 million VW brand cars in China, along with nearly 159,000 high-end Audi models and 122,500 less expensive Skodas.
“We are full of confidence for 2010 [and] expecting a growth rate of 10 to 15 percent for the total automotive market in China,” said Winfried Vahland, president and chief executive of Volkswagen Group China.
Last year, the group also sold 600 so-called supercars in China, including 484 Bentleys and 118 Lamborghinis.
VW owns 10 brands in all, including its most recently acquired one, Porsche.
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