DETROIT -- Ford Motor Co. broke ground Thursday on a $500 million engine factory in southwest China as the automaker seeks to expand in the world's largest market and boost global sales by 50 percent in four years.
The plant in the western Chinese city of Chongqing will more than double engine capacity for joint venture Changan Ford Mazda Automobile Co. to 750,000 units when output starts in 2013, according to an e-mailed statement. Ford forecast last week that growth in Asia will help boost global sales by 50 percent to 8 million vehicles a year by 2015.
CEO Alan Mulally expects 55 percent of vehicle sales will be small cars and a third will be in Asia by 2020. Ford, which still gets most of its sales and profit from the U.S. and Europe, holds a 2.4 percent share of the passenger-vehicle market in China, trailing General Motors Co.'s 10 percent, J.D. Power & Associates said in April.
The engines built in Chongqing will be used in Ford-brand vehicles built and sold in China, the statement said. The automaker plans to triple its lineup in China by offering 15 models, including the Kuga compact SUV, by mid-decade, Chief Financial Officer Lewis Booth said last week.
Ford plans to double its number of dealerships in China to 680 by 2015 and is spending $1.6 billion to build four factories there. By next year, Ford will have the capacity to build 1.1 million vehicles in China, Jim Farley, Ford's marketing chief, said last week.