In preparation for its dealership launch next year for the Lincoln brand, Ford plans to begin stocking those showrooms by importing vehicles from the United States, rather than building them locally.
According to company officials, this will give Ford a bit more flexibility – and save it the hefty capital investment that would otherwise be required to tool up a line in China, although it will add significant duties to the price of models like the Lincoln MKZ.
But it’s not just Lincoln products. In fact, the Detroit maker is increasing the number of vehicles it ships to China even as other manufacturers – such as General Motors’ Cadillac brand – continue to reduce that flow of exports while continuing to increase local Chinese production.
Among the many models Ford is exporting to China are the specialty Focus ST and Fiesta ST models, notes Dave Schoch, the president of the maker’s Asia/Pacific region, and the numbers are growing with Chinese demand for those two performance models up 200% for the first nine months of 2013.
Ford is planning to increase the shipment of U.S. and Canadian-made products to China to as much as 40,000 units annually as it finally gains traction in the booming Asian market. That would be a big jump from the current number, as Ford exported a total of 16,405 vehicles to China during the January through September period.
“As part of our plan to offer a full family of SUVs to Chinese consumers, we began importing the Ford Explorer from the U.S. to China this year,” the maker noted. “Explorer joins our locally produced EcoSport and Kuga, as well as Edge, which is imported from Canada.”
“I’d like to be going faster,” Schoch said during a media roundtable. But while “We have the products and we have the demand,” he acknowledged, “We need the capacity.”
The maker is currently in the process of adding two new Chinese assembly plants, as well as three additional powertrain factories to keep up with its anticipated growth.
Even so, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it will eventually stop exporting vehicles from the U.S. – or Canada or Europe, for that matter – to China. In some cases, it simply won’t be able to justify the cost of producing some low-volume models in the Asian nation, just as Ford relies on overseas production for some limited-run offerings in the States.
Via The Detroit News
) - Wednesday, October 16th, 2013 - filed under Ford
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