May 11, 2018 / 6:41 AM / in 10 months

Ford's April China vehicle sales slump 26 percent year on year

BEIJING (Reuters) - Ford Motor Co’s (F.N) vehicle sales in China fell 26 percent in April, the company said on Friday, as its business remained under pressure in the world’s biggest auto market partly due to a dearth of fresh products.

FILE PHOTO: The new Ford Focus car is displayed during a media preview at the Auto China 2018 motor show in Beijing, China April 25, 2018. REUTERS/Jason Lee/File Photo

Ford’s business continued to falter even as China’s overall auto market kept growing.

Ford officials have said the company’s business in China this year will remain pressured by the shortage of new or significantly redesigned cars models in its product lineup - a situation they indicated should last at least through the end of 2018.

The company’s sales in China fell 26 percent to 69,503 vehicles in April from a year earlier. That follows an 11 percent slide in volume in March.

Sales volume during the first four months of the year dropped 21 percent to 276,642 vehicles, from the same period a year ago, Ford said.

According to the automaker, sales of its premium brand Lincoln fell 14 percent last month from a year earlier to 3,553 vehicles. However, volume for the first four months was up 4 percent at 16,263 vehicles.

A Ford spokesman attributed the Lincoln sales slide last month in part to the fact that the MKC, the brand’s best-selling SUV, is nearing the end of its product life cycle.

“The sales performance was also affected by the recent MKZ recall,” he said in an emailed response.

According to data released by an industry body on Friday, China’s overall vehicles sales in April jumped 11.5 percent from a year earlier to 2.32 million vehicles.

Sales volume in China in the first four months of 2018 was up 4.8 percent from the same period last year, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM). Sales totaled 9.5 million vehicles.

Ford last month unveiled three models for China - the significantly revamped Focus compact car, the more modestly recast Escort, as well as a new pickup truck for China, the Thai-produced Ranger Wildtrak. Those products are expected to hit showrooms in China by the end of the year.

The company also said last month, Lincoln plans to launch soon in China new SUVs called the Aviator and the Nautilus, as well as the redesigned MKC, also an SUV.

Those new products are part of 50 fresh or freshened products Ford plans to launch in China by 2025, the company said.

Reporting By Norihiko Shirouzu; Editing by Shri Navaratnam and Gopakumar Warrier

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