Ford Motor’s China vehicle sales dropped for a third consecutive year, by 26.1%, as it fights a prolonged overall sales drop in the country that has hit demand for its mass-market Ford brand and sports utility cars.
Ford made deliveries of 146,473 vehicles in China in the fourth quarter, showing a drop of 14.7% year-on-year, Ford stated. Overall, it sold 567,854 vehicles during 2019.
Ford has been attempting to revive sales in China after its business started to decline in 2017. Sales dropped 37% in 2018, following a 6% decline in 2017.
Anning Chen, president, and chief executive of Ford Greater China, stated that while the last year was a “challenging” year for the automaker, it experienced its market share in the high-to-premium segment stabilize and its sales decrease in the value segment start to narrow in the second half of the year.
“The pressure from the external environment and downward trend of the industry volume will also exist in 2020, and we will put more effort into strengthening our product lineup with more customer-centric products and customer experiences to mitigate the external pressure and improve dealers’ profitability.”
The automaker prepares to release more than 30 new models in China during the next three years of which over a third are going to be electric vehicles. It has also stated it would regionalize management teams by employing more Chinese staff and intended to improve relationships with joint venture partners.
Models released in the fourth quarter consists of a new Ford Escape version – for which the automaker stated orders received so far have been much higher than expected – and the Lincoln Corsair, the first localized Lincoln model in the country.
In China, more than 28 million vehicles were sold in 2018, down 3% from the prior year, while 2019 sales are likely to have dropped 8% from the prior year, China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM) stated.