Ford’s China Sales Decline Again Despite New Models

By Reuters
October 11, 2019 Updated: October 11, 2019

BEIJING— Ford Motor’s July-to-September vehicle sales in China fell 30 percent, as the U.S. automaker continued to lose ground in a prolonged sales decline in its second biggest market.

The Dearborn, Michigan-based automaker delivered 131,060 vehicles in China in the third quarter, Ford said in a statement.

Ford’s sales in China fell 35.8 percent in the first quarter and by 21.7 percent in the second quarter.

In the third quarter, sales of the automaker’s mass-market Ford brand fell 37.7 percent, while its luxury division Lincoln saw sales drop by 24.1 percent. It delivered around 421,000 vehicles in the first nine months of the year, according to Reuters calculations.

Ford has been struggling to revive sales in China after its business began slumping in late 2017. Sales sank 37 percent in 2018, after a 6 percent decline in 2017.

The automaker plans to launch more than 30 new models in China over the next three years of which more than a third will be electric vehicles. It also said it would localize management teams by hiring more Chinese staff and aimed to improve relationships with joint venture partners.

Ford has launched a series of new models in the third quarter in China, including Focus, sport-utility vehicle models Edge, and electric Territory.

In China, Ford makes cars through its joint venture with Chongqing Changan Automobile Co. Ltd. and Jiangling Motors Corp. Ltd. It has said it would partner with Zotye Automobile Co. Ltd. to sell lower priced cars, but there seems to have been little progress.

In a series of moves, Ford named a new president for its main local venture, Changan Ford, in August and said it would enhance its partnership with Changan through research, production and marketing cooperation in September.

Ford is also planning to revamp some of its existing manufacturing facilities with Changan to localize production of its premium brand Lincoln.

Changan Ford’s sales down by around 33.5 percent in the third quarter, according to Reuters calculations based on Changan’s filings.

Workers on a vehicle assembly line at the Ford-Chang'an joint venture plant in Chongqing, China, on June 3, 2011. (LIU JIN/AFP/Getty Images)
Workers on a vehicle assembly line at the Ford-Changan joint venture plant in Chongqing, China, on June 3, 2011. (Liu Jin/AFP/Getty Images)

General Motors’ July to September vehicle sales in China also fell 17.5 percent to 689,531 vehicles.

As GM and Ford China sales extend declines, U.S. car companies’ share of total China passenger vehicle sales fell to 9.5 percent in the first eight months of this year from 10.7 percent in the year-ago period, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM).

Over the same period, German car makers’ share has risen to 23.8 percent from 21.6 percent, and Japanese auto makers’ to 21.7 percent from 18.3 percent.

Annual industry car sales in China fell last year for the first time since the 1990s, and they are expected to fall this year too. Sales dropped 6.9 percent in August from the same month in the prior year, CAAM said.

An official at the association said last month that in the next three years the industry could see “low or small negative growth.”

By Yilei Sun, John Ruwitch and Norihiko Shirouzu