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Ford Hits Record Annual Sales Figures in China

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Ford Hits Record Annual Sales Figures in China

A strong line-up of products, good customer demand and ongoing diplomatic tensions between Beijing and Tokyo have apparently helped Ford (NYSE: F) reach record sales figures in China.

Ford's China division sold nearly 936,000 wholesale vehicles last year, a 49 percent increase from 2012. December sales alone were up 35 percent, compared to December 2012.

Meanwhile, the company's passenger car joint venture in China, Changan Ford Automobile, also hit a new record in 2013 – as did its commercial vehicle investment, Jiangling Motors Corporation.

John Lawler, chairman and CEO of Ford Motor China, credited the company's accelerated growth in the People's Republic to its follow-through on plans to bring to introduce seven of Ford's “next-generation global vehicles” to China, including the EcoSport, Kuga, Fiesta and new Mondeo lines.

“In 2014, by remaining focused on our plan, we look forward to serving more Chinese customers,” he said in a press statement, “growing our capacity, expanding our dealership network, and continuing to bring them high-quality, safe, fuel efficient and smart Ford vehicles.”

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Reuters reports Ford has now surpassed both Toyota (NYSE: TM) and Honda (NYSE: HMC) in China sales volume. Ford still lags behind General Motors (NYSE: GM) and Volkswagen (OTC: VLKAF), however – with GM and VW expected to announce sales of over three million vehicles in China in 2013.

Ford Toyota and its two joint-venture partners in China, meanwhile, reportedly sold over 900,000 vehicles in 2013. The company's sales figures for the year were actually lower.

Japanese car sales in China began to decline starting in late 2012, as a dispute between the two countries over a group of uninhabited islands in the East China Sea deepened. That controversy also sparked anti-Japanese protests in several Chinese cities – as well as attacks on Japanese diplomatic facilities and the vandalization of several Japanese car showrooms in China.

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