Ford's vehicle sales in China tumble for third consecutive year

Daniel Fowler
January 15, 2020

Ford says plans to launch more than 30 new models in the next three years. In 2018, the company devised a seven-year plan to reverse its declining sales.

On Monday, Ford said China auto sales in 2019 slumped by more than a quarter, its third straight year of decline as demand for its mass-market Ford brand and sports utility vehicles continue to be anaemic.

"The pressure from the external environment and downward trend of the industry volume will continue in 2020, and we will put more efforts into strengthening our product lineup with more customer-centric products and customer experiences to mitigate the external pressure and improve dealers' profitability", said Anning Chen, President and Chief Executive of Ford Greater China.

Sales in the industry's biggest global market declined 9.6% from 2018 levels to 21.4 million sedans, SUVs and minivans, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers.

CAAM data also revealed that sales of new energy vehicles in China slipped for the first time since the government began to vigorously promote clean energy vehicles about a decade ago, due to macroeconomic pressure and a significant cut in subsidies.

Its manufacturing numbers are down as well as the company produced 146,473 vehicles in China in the fourth quarter, which is 14.7% less than in the same time period previous year.

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New vehicle sales fell in China last year for the second year in a row, as trade tensions with the USA hit consumer demand.

China continues to be a hard market for the Ford Motor Co.

"They managed to stop the bleeding and increase average selling price", Bill Russo, head of Shanghai consultancy Automobility Ltd said when asked about Ford's 2019 sales results.

Ford shares fell at the market open Monday. In total, it sold 567,854 vehicles in 2019.

Electric vehicles will make up a third of that. Annual sales started falling in 2018, by 2.8 per cent, halting a growth march that started in the 1990s.

Among models that were launched in the fourth quarter, the new Ford Escape performed better than any other model in terms of received orders, while the Lincoln Corsair is the first localized Lincoln auto in China. While industry experts ascribed the latest slump to tariffs brought by the China-U.S. trade war, the company said its sales crisis stemmed mainly from a lack of new products, Reuters reported earlier.

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