Ford aims to outpace China market growth in ’10 image

Ford Motor saw its sales in China grow 44% to 440,619 vehicles last year and aims to outpace growth in the world’s No.1 auto market this year, with demand to be driven by continued state policy incentives, Reuters reported today.

Ford is the latest auto company to report strong sales growth in China, where auto demand rebounded strongly last year thanks to government’s aggressive cuts in sales taxes on small cars and subsidies for buyers in rural areas.

The U.S. automaker’s record China sales last year is attributed partly to its popular Focus sedan, which sold 134,336 units, or nearly a third of its overall sales. Sales of its all-new Fiesta small car, rolled out in March, came to 47,358 units.

Overall sales of the Changan Ford Mazda venture soared 55% to 315,791 units in 2009. Sales of Ford’s Transit light commercial van, made at its partly owned Jiangling Motors, rose 22% to 33,585 units. Ford sold over 15,000 locally made Volvo cars in China last year.

“We think there will be something like 8% growth of the market this year,” Nigel Harris, head of Ford’s sales and marketing in China, told reporters. “Our ambition is to sell more than 8%.”

Ford is speeding up expansion in China with a 150,000-unit new car plant in the western city of Chongqing, scheduled to start operations in 2012.