Ford sales in China down 41.9% in January image

Ford Motor said on Wednesday it sold 30,976 vehicles in China in January – down 41.9% from a year earlier, due to lower inventory levels and a shorter sales period because of the Lunar New Year holidays.

The U.S. based automaker said its Changan Ford Mazda Automobile Co. passenger-vehicle joint venture sold 18,324 Ford-branded vehicles last month, down 42.6% from 31,904 vehicles a year earlier.

Ford’s commercial vehicle investment in China, Jiangling Motors Corporation (JMC), sold 12,045 wholesale vehicles this month compared to 20,966 wholesale vehicles in January 2011.

However, the maker of F150 truck said it remains on track for sustainable growth in 2012 and will introduce 15 new models to China by 2015, bringing Chinese consumers a wide range of high-quality, fuel-efficient, safe vehicles equipped with smart technology that they can both love and afford.

Combined sales of cars, sport-utility vehicles, multi-purpose vehicles and minivans declined 16.5 percent from a year earlier to 1.17 million units in January, said the China Passenger Car Association on Tuesday.

The Lunar holiday, like Thanksgiving or Christmas in the U.S., is among the biggest selling periods in China and parts of Asia. Chinese consumers spend more at home and at overseas vacation spots such as Hong Kong and Macau.

This year’s holiday extended from Jan. 23 to Jan. 29 and marked the start of the Year of the Dragon.