Ford is looking to build upon rising sales in a market where the government is boosting incentives to get more people to buy advanced-powertrain vehicles. To qualify, the vehicles need to plug in and be able to travel at least 31 miles in all-electric mode. With its new China plan, Ford is following the example of fellow US automaker General Motors, departing from Ford's recent strategy of upping sales by offering new gas-powered crossover vehicles in China. GM wants to have at least 10 plug-in vehicle models available in China by the end of the decade, though the company was similarly mum about details beyond the Cadillac CT6 Plug-in Hybrid and plans for its late-2016 debut. China accounts for about a third of GM's annual revenue.
Ford's sales in China rose three percent last year to a record 1.12 million vehicles. The trend increased this year, with Ford's first-quarter sales up 14 percent from a year earlier to more than 314,000 vehicles. Globally, Ford plans to invest $4.5 billion to have as many as 13 new plug-ins and hybrids on the market by 2020. Last year, Ford sold about 72,000 hybrids and plug-ins in the US. That was down 24 percent from the previous year.