Ford opens 88 car dealerships in a day as China car sales surge

Car sales are one area where the Chinese economy remains in double-digit growth territory

Beijing traffic: car sales are one area where the Chinese economy remains in double-digit growth. Passenger-vehicle sales rose 13 per cent in May as foreign carmakers continued to build up share from local brands. Photograph: Keith Bedford/Bloomberg

Beijing traffic: car sales are one area where the Chinese economy remains in double-digit growth. Passenger-vehicle sales rose 13 per cent in May as foreign carmakers continued to build up share from local brands. Photograph: Keith Bedford/Bloomberg

 

Ford opened 88 new Ford dealerships in a single day last week – 88 is a very auspicious number in China, and the total number of Chinese Ford dealer points is now 750.

Car sales are one area where the Chinese economy remains in double-digit growth territory. Passenger-vehicle sales in China, the world’s largest car market, rose 13 per cent in May, led by GM and Ford, as foreign carmakers continued to build up share from local brands.

Retail deliveries of cars, multipurpose and sport utility vehicles climbed to 1.5 million units in May, according to the Passenger Car Association.

Chinese carmakers accounted for 21.5 per cent of industry car sales last month, a decline of 5.1 percentage points from a year earlier, according to the data. German marques led with 28.7 per cent of the market, followed by Chinese, Japanese, American, Korean and French brands.

The opening events for the showrooms were held in six cities – Shanghai, Dongying, Shenyang, Zhengzhou, Xi’an and Foshan – and the opening of the Shanghai Jiuhua West Dealership was attended by Alan Mulally, president and CEO of Ford.

“Nearly 100 years ago our founder Henry Ford declared that his vision for our company was to ‘open the highways to all mankind’,” Mulally said at the event.

“Today, Ford and Changan Ford are doing exactly that in China. We are making mobility and economic opportunity even more accessible to our customers as we expand our ability to serve them with the very best cars and utilities.”

Ford sells the Focus, the Kuga, the Mondeo, the EcoSport and the Explorer in China, and 2013 sales were up 49 per cent compared to 2012, with 935,813 wholesale vehicles sold in 2013 compared to 626,616 sold in 2012.

In the first five months of 2014, Ford sold 461,473 vehicles compared to 332,308 in the first five months of 2013, an increase of 39 per cent.

Around one third of the Ford sales network in China is located in central and western China, reflecting growing customer demand for Ford vehicles in those regions.

Marin Burela, president and CEO of Changan Ford, said with the current growth momentum Ford expects to exceed 800 dealer points in China by the end of 2014.

Much of the demand is down to people buying their second cars before a series of quotas on licence plates is introduced in many cities.

China currently has enough roads and infrastructure to accommodate at most 300 million vehicles, while the number of driver licenses holders is expected to reach 1 billion in the next 10 to 15 years.

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