"Ford opened 88 dealerships in China last year." "Ford opened 88 dealerships in China during the first half of 2014." "Ford opened 88 dealerships in China last month." None of those statements – even the last one – would seem unbelievable. Saying "Ford opened up 88 dealerships in China last Thursday," though, is a bit more dramatic.
Yes, on June 19 alone, Ford opened the doors on nearly 100 showrooms in the People's Republic, boosting the Blue Oval's total presence in the country to 750 dealerships. Of course, while an overabundance of dealers in the US proved troublesome for American manufacturers back in 2008 and 2009, there's no such concern in China. Considering the country's huge population and the breakneck pace of the local auto industry, you could be forgiven for being surprised Ford only has 750 outlets at this stage.
What's notable about this most recent push, besides the sheer volume of new stores, is their location. Over three-quarters of the new dealerships are in so-called Tier 4 cities, which are smaller towns that still contain millions of people. This fits with Ford's strategy in China of avoiding the bigger battlegrounds that are already dominated by competitors and focusing on setting up shop in newer markets that may have been overlooked, according to Automotive News.
"With the growth momentum we have going right now, we expect to exceed 800 dealer points in China by the end of 2014," Marin Burela, president and CEO of Changan Ford, told AN.