Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) has been spending big bucks to expand its lineup in China, and recent sales results suggest that Chinese consumers are liking what they're seeing: The Blue Oval's sales through the first two months of 2013 were up 46% over year-ago totals.
That's huge. How huge? It trounced market leader General Motors Company (NYSE:GM)' 7.9% gain over the same two months – itself a good result for a period in which sales at rivals Toyota Motor Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:TM) and Honda Motor Co Ltd (ADR) (NYSE:HMC) actually declined.
More to the point, it's proof that Ford's product strategy is playing quite well in China – and that bodes very well for the Blue Oval's ongoing expansion plans.
Big gains in a sluggish market While most automakers report monthly sales results in the areas in which they do business, automakers doing business in China generally present their January and February results as a combined number. That's because Chinese New Year, a week-long holiday celebration, sometimes falls in January (like in 2012) and sometimes in February (as it did this year) – making year-over-year monthly comparisons complicated.
But this year, despite losing a week of sales to the holiday, Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F)'s Chinese operation still posted a sales gain of 7% in February that looks even better when you dig into the details.
Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) operates two separate joint ventures in China: Changan Ford Automobile, which produces familiar global Ford cars like the Focus, and a joint venture with Chinese truckmaker Jiangling Motors that produces Ford-branded commercial and government vehicles based on Ford's Transit and E350 vans.
Of those two, Changan Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) is the more significant operation, outselling the truck venture by more than two to one. And its sales have been rising sharply lately – up 39% in February alone -- as Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) brings more of its well-regarded global products to the Middle Kingdom.