It's happened. General Motors' biggest vehicle market – at least in terms of new model sales – is China. According to TheDetroitBureau.com, GM and its various Chinese joint venture operations enjoyed a 10.6-percent sales increase in the first half of 2013, selling almost 1.6 million units in the market. That puts GM China about 200,000 units ahead of its US sales totals over the same period – this, despite indicators that the communist nation's economy is losing momentum.
When we asked Volkswagen last year why it was building a factory in the U.S., after having missed the irrationally volcanic era of car sales, we were told that even a 12-million-per-annum market was still too big to ignore. A report in Reuters paints Ford's situation in China somewhat the same way: Ford is only now attacking the Chinese market, building plants and increasing local capacity there, after numerous other players have established their positions.
At present, Ford has the capacity, through its joint venture Changan Ford Mazda Automobile, to build about 600,000 vehicles per year in China. That's not enough to sustain the brand's expected growth, so it makes sense that the automaker has officially announced plans to build a new facility in Hangzhou.
Ford Motor Company might be looking to its joint venture ally – Changan Automobile Group – to manufacture electric vehicles in China. Bloomberg cites Ford chief executive officer Alan Mulally, in China for a groundbreaking ceremony, as the source of this intel:
Alan Mulally has done a lot of good for the Blue Oval brand, but the Ford CEO still has big plans for the automaker. In fact, Mulally's goal is to see a 50 percent increase in global sales by the year 2015. An ambitious target, which would see Ford selling nearly eight million vehicles around the world.
According to Ford, 70 percent of the company's growth in the next decade will come from the Asia-Pacific region and Africa. The Blue Oval had only planned to have 310 dealerships in China at the end of 2010, but having sold nearly half a million cars this year and expecting the boom to continue, the number has jumped to 340 dealers. This is part of Ford's larger plan to add 100 new dealerships in China, mostly in smaller cities and inland provinces where new car demand is high.
Ford Motor Company is losing billions of dollars in America, but Ford Motor China is giving money away. Thankfully it's for a good cause. Today, Ford announced the names of 23 individuals and organizations in China that will receive grants from Ford in China totaling about $131,000 US dollars (the number sounds much more impressive when expressed in Chinese yuan: 1.05 million). This is the 7th year of the Ford Motor Conservation & Environmental Grants, China (CEGC) and this year grants were