Ford managed to outsell Toyota in China, thanks to its Focus small car.
Although the Focus small car had an important part in this increase, another factor would be the fact that Japanese automakers still suffer from the territorial dispute between China and Japan, which affects auto sales too. Ford also invested $4.9 billion to double production and expand its lineup in China. In 2012 the US automaker’s pretax operating losses in the region dropped to $77 million from $92 million in 2011.
“We are about at break-even and we’re also at the height of our investment,” Chief Executive Officer Alan Mulally said in an April 9 interview. “We’re doing that with the biggest investment we have ever made. Think about when those plants are in. Just think about where those margins go.”
Ford has made expansion in China a priority, a market where it lags behind VW and GM. Ford’s target set in 2010 is to derive one third of its sales from Asia by 2020 and for this it is introducing 15 new models in the country by 2015 and build the automaker’s largest factory complex I the city of Chongqing.
“China is now our No. 2 market in terms of sales,” surpassing the U.K., Fields said in the April 9 interview. “There might be some months this year that our sales in China may outpace our sales in total Europe. So in terms of our business, it’s becoming more and more important.”