Strong March sales for Ford in China, while GM’s slightly slipped image

Ford posed a hefty sales boost in China for the first quarter, with strong results last month, while General Motors stayed on track.

Ford is on a good sales momentum in China, as its first quarter figures increased 14 percent compared to the same period last year, with 314,454 vehicles sold. Deliveries of Ford-branded vehicles reached 114,788 in March, up five percent compared to March 2015. The demand for sport utility vehicles continued to be on high levels, with combined sales of the Ecosport, Kuga, Edge, Explorer and Everest models totaling 79,964 units from January to March, up 38 percent compared to the same time last year, while the Blue Oval sold 26,732 SUVs in March, marking a 29 percent increase. Lincoln has also had a strong performance so far this year, with 5,484 vehicles sold in the first quarter, a three-fold increase compared to the same time a year earlier. The upward trend was backed up by the growing number of dealerships, which reached 37 by the end of March, and Chinese customers’ positive response to Lincoln SUVs.

As for General Motors and its joint ventures, their deliveries last month in China declined 0.6 percent from the previous year to 296,939 units, impacted by the replacement of several models, such as the Buick LaCrosse and Chevrolet Malibu, and the continued softening of the mini-commercial vehicle market, the automaker said in a statement. In the first quarter of 2016, sales slightly increased by 0.2 percent year over year to 963,652 vehicles.

To capitalize on this trend, about 40 percent of the new vehicles that GM will launch in China over the next five years will be SUVs and MPVs, and GM’s Cadillac luxury brand will introduce 10 new and refreshed models.

Between now and 2020, GM and its Chinese partners plan to roll out more than 60 new and refreshed models in the country, including 13 this year, with a strong focus on SUVs, MPVs and luxury vehicles. The company expects China’s vehicle market to increase by 5 million units or more by 2020, representing growth of about 3-5 percent annually.