(Refiles to add complete comment from Ford spokesman in
*Ford, Changan in talks to export China-made Ford cars-sources
*China remains major focus for Ford
*Exports to provide additional income as market slows
(Adds analysts, background)
By Fang Yan and Ken Wills
BEIJING, Jan 20 Ford Motor (F.N) is in talks with
its Chinese partner, Chongqing Changan Automobile Co (000625.SZ),
to export China-made Ford vehicles to emerging markets, two
people familiar with the matter told Reuters on Thursday.
Ford, which competes with General Motors (GM.N) among others
in the world's largest auto market, aims to expand its joint
efforts with its Chinese partner. [ID:nN24159793]
"Ford and Changan are exploring ways to expand their
partnership. Export of China-made models is only one of the
possible options," one source with direct knowledge of the
situation told Reuters.
Another source said the on-going discussions are in line with
Ford Chief Executive Alan Mulally's call to broaden and deepen
ties with its Chinese partner. The sources declined to be
identified since they were not authorised to talk to the media.
A spokesman for Ford, which makes Fiesta, Mondeo, Focus and
X-MAX models in a three-way tie-up with Changan and Mazda Motor
(7261.T), said the company has no plans to export from China.
"We are building high quality, fuel efficient, fun-to-drive
vehicles in China, for China, and have no plans to export
vehicles from China," said Trevor Hale, a China-based spokesman
with Ford's Asia Pacific and Africa operations, in an emailed
A Changan spokesman declined to comment.
Ford, the only Detroit automaker to have steered clear of a
U.S. government bailout and bankruptcy in 2009, is a relatively
latecomer in China, where GM and Volkswagen AG (VOWG.DE) have
built up a lead.
However, Ford has been accelerating its expansion -- building
a green field car plant with Changan and Mazda (7261.T) -- while
its 30-percent owned Jiangling Motor (000550.SZ) is also adding a
$300 million new facility.
In 2010, Ford, which also holds 30 percent of major Chinese
light commercial vehicle maker Jiangling Motors Corp, was the
fastest growing foreign automaker in the country.
It sold 582,467 vehicles, up 40 percent from the year before,
outperforming a 32 percent overall increase in China.
CHINA REMAINS MAIN FOCUS
Joe Hinrichs, president of Ford's Asia and Africa operations,
said at the Detroit autoshow that the U.S. automaker intended to
introduce 50 new products and power trains in the region in the
next four years, its most aggressive move in Asia so far.
"China remains the main focus for foreign automakers. But
export deals would serve as an additional income source at a time
when the market is slowing down," said Boni Sa, an analyst with
The Chinese government issued a massive package of stimulus
measures at the height of the global financial crisis in 2009,
including tax incentives for small cars. The incentives were
scaled back in 2010 and scrapped at the beginning of this year.
Beijing city government's recent move to impose quotas on new
car registrations and possibly similar moves by other big cities
to tackle traffic gridlock will apply the brakes on the market.
Many industry insiders expect the market to grow 10-15
percent this year, after jumping 33 percent and 53 percent in
2010 and 2009, respectively, but some have projected a decline
this year of more than 10 percent. [ID:nTOE70B071]
Other car makers, such as PSA Peugeot Citroen (PEUP.PA), is
also seeking to gain entry into emerging countries with brands
made at their China ventures.
PSA Peugeot Citroen is preparing a logistics platform in
Shanghai and will export selected Peugeot and Citroen cars made
at its China plants, said Gregoire Olivier, the French car
maker's Asia chief. [ID:nTOE67U06V]
(Editing by Lee Chyen Yee)