Ford Motor Co. (F) on Thursday announced that it is launching its Lincoln luxury brand in China in the second half of 2014 as the automaker plays catch up in the world's biggest auto market. Although a late comer in the Chinese market, the Lincoln is set to take the Chinese market by surprise. CEO Alan Mulally announced the move today during a swing through China to break ground on the company's third assembly plant in the city of Chongqing. Robert Parker, the president of Lincoln China, however said that the brand was being introduced into the market after a lot of research. The brand will be sold through an independent dealer network, and the company will begin meeting aspiring dealers in the fourth quarter of this year, Ford said in a release. Lincoln cars sold in China also will have padded backseats because of China's higher expectations for backseat comfort, said the press release.
In the past year, China's government has renewed a perennial crackdown on corruption and ostentatious spending by officials, which has crimped spending on luxury goods. Parker said he believes there is strong interest in Lincoln among Chinese luxury car consumers and that the company aims to open 60 dealerships in 50 Chinese cities and offer five models by 2016. John Zeng, an analyst at LMC Automotive, said Lincoln will face an uphill battle in a crowded Chinese luxury car market dominated by European brands. For the record, Ford China sales grew 32 percent in May with 93,323 wholesales sold compared to 70,449 wholesales in May 2013. Year-to-date sales were up 39 percent, with 461,473 wholesales sold compared to 332,308 wholesales sold in the first five months of 2013.
Ford has not only set its eyes on the Chinese market, it is also fast approaching the growing Indian market. Terming India among the fastest growing markets, US-based carmaker Ford today said it has decided to make the country as its export hub. The President and CEO of Ford Motors said, “We have decided that India will be an export hub for Ford. We are exporting to over 50 countries from here and are increasing it overtime.”
What’s funny is the fact that the car maker has taken every care to make the car smell good to the Chinese noses. This was because of the Chinese’s obsession with fragrance. Changan Ford Automobile (CAF), Ford's passenger car joint venture, sold 67,454 vehicles in May, up 32 percent from 51,008 sold during the same period last year. Year-to-date sales reached 330,771 vehicles, up 43 percent compared to the first five months of 2013.
Taking a cue from the presence and great performance by the company in China Lincoln is said to have been introduced to the market. Ford Motor Co has said it will introduce its high-end Lincoln brand to China later this year with plans to open eight dealerships in seven cities. Featuring great fuel-efficiency, safety, quality, and smart technologies, demand for both the Ford Mondeo and the Ford Focus continued to increase last month. Ford Mondeo nameplate sales were up 90 percent with 10,395 vehicles sold in May while Ford Focus nameplate sales reached 33,341 vehicles, up 22 percent compared to May 2013.
Jiangling Motors Corporation (JMC), Ford's commercial vehicle investment in China, also continued to turn in steady growth, with sales rising 25 percent in May, selling 21,342 vehicles compared 17,057 sold in May 2013. JMC’s year-to-date sales were up 21 percent with 113,926 vehicles sold, up from 94,208 in the first five months of 2013. Looking at all the facts and figures it won’t be wrong to assume that Ford is going to make it big in China.