That result capped a record-breaking quarter in China for Ford and its joint-venture partners. Ford totaled 186,596 wholesale deliveries in China in the first quarter, up 54% over the first quarter of 2012.
These gains are particularly impressive because growth of the overall auto market in China has been quite subdued in recent months. But Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F)’s ambitious plan to establish itself as a major player in China looks to be rapidly gathering steam.
After a late start, success for the Blue Oval in China
Ford was a latecomer to the Chinese auto party. Years after General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) and Volkswagen had established themselves as major players in the market, Ford had only a token presence in the region, selling just a small number of cars and trucks.
But a few years ago, Ford CEO Alan Mulally moved aggressively to start changing that. Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) has since begun a massive expansion plan in China, investing over $5 billion in a series of new factories and engineering centers.
And now it looks like Ford is racking up its second big success, with an SUV that will be a familiar face – if not exactly a familiar name – to American Ford-followers.
Another hit brewing, this time an SUV
Ford’s new-to-China Kuga SUV, pictured above, is a twin in all but name to the Escape SUV that has been racking up big sales numbers here in the U.S. Launched here last year, the latest Escape has been a good hit for Ford, posting substantial sales gains over its popular and well-regarded predecessor.