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Ford Announces China Expansion Plan

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Ford Announces China Expansion Plan
Thu October 16, 2003 10:44 PM ET
BEIJING (Reuters) - U.S. auto giant Ford Motor Co F.N said on Friday it would boost investment by more than $1 billion over the next few years as part of ambitious expansion plans in the world's fastest-expanding major car market.

"The automotive future of China is very bright and we are participating fully in its growth. I am pleased to reaffirm our long-term plans for China," chief executive officer Bill Ford told reporters on his first trip to China.

Production at its joint venture Chongqing Changan Automobile Co Ltd 200625.SZ 000625.SZ would rise to 150,000 units from a current 20,000, as part of an expansion that would include a second car plant and engine plant. He did not give a timeframe.

Ford, a relative latecomer to the Chinese market, launched its first Fiesta car to much fanfare in January this year.

But it entered a segment already dominated by Volkswagen AG VOWG.DE , which already controls more than a third of the market, and arch-rival General Motors Corp GM.N , which commands about eight percent.

Ford and GM have been slugging it out at home but are now taking their battle to the mainland. Ford is now fleshing out its offerings in China with luxury sedans and sport-utility vehicles.

Car sales in China smashed the one million-unit barrier last year. But analysts warn that unfettered capacity expansions could foment a serious glut that will erode margins.
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