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GM, Ford Set Record Sales In China

GM's 2006 sales increased 31.8 percent and its market share rose 11.8 percent; Ford's increased 86.6 percent.

General Motors Corp. said Sunday that it had record sales in China in 2006. With 876,747 vehicles, 2006 was 31.8 percent higher than the 208,000 vehicles in 2005.

The 2006 sales also beat industry estimates of a 24 percent increase and raised GM’s market share in China to 11.8 percent.

“Vehicle sales continued to outpace most projections as a result of unprecedented consumer demand for passenger cars,” said GM China Group President and Managing Director Kevin Wale. “While demand was particularly strong in the small car segment, nearly all passenger car segments experienced growth.”

Wale also noted that to keep up with continued market growth in China, GM will be investing an average of $1 billion annually through 2010.

At 162,722 vehicles, Ford Motor Co.'s sales, which include Ford, Lincoln, Jaguar, Land Rover and Volvo Car, for 2006 in China rose 86.6 percent, its highest year to date in China. Sales of the Ford Brand rose 89.3 percent over 2005 with 155,404 vehicles.

"China's market is a critical part in our plans in building a stronger Ford Motor Co. By working closely with our partners, we laid out robust strategy to become one of the key auto players in the Chinese market. The outstanding 2006 results clearly indicated that we are on the right track to achieve that goal." said Mei-Wei Cheng, Chairman and CEO of Ford Motor (China) Ltd.

Ford's joint venture in China, Changan Ford Mazda Automobile Co., Ltd., also saw record sales. With 2006 sales of 129,790 vehicles, it is 112.7 percent above 2005, making it one of the fastest growing automakers in the country.

"The company's $1 billion plus expansion plan, announced by Mr. Bill Ford in 2003, is about to be completed. Construction of Changan Ford Mazda Automobile's Nanjing plant and Changan Ford Mazda Engine Co. are both coming along very well, and will start production in 2007. Overall, our core strategic operations are now in place to deliver a successful implementation of our China strategy." Cheng added.

The $1 billion investment Chang mentioned was to cover expansion of production capacity, the building of a new engine plant, the introduction of new products and increasing the national dealer network.