SHANGHAI -(Dow Jones)- Ford Motor Co. (F) aims for electric cars to account for 10%-25% of its cars sales by 2020, up from just 1% at the moment, Nancy Gioia, director of Global Electrification at the U.S. car maker, said Monday.
The auto maker is gearing up to launch the all-new Focus Electric in the U.S. later this year and C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid in 2012, and its plan to introduce electric cars in China comes after the government pledged in March to cut the country’s carbon intensity by 17% by 2015 under its 12th five-year plan.
In a statement issued earlier Monday, Ford said the company also plans to bring a demonstration fleet of new energy vehicles to showcase in China later this year, which will feature the gasoline-electric Ford Fusion Hybrid model.
Ford’s vehicle sales in China increased 19% in the first quarter from a year earlier to 140,566 units, and its sales in March rose 20% from a year earlier to 53,440 units amid sustained demand for passenger and commercial vehicles.
Ford said its passenger car sales in China in the three months ended March 31 totaled 85,123 units, up 11% from a year earlier, and commercial vehicle sales rose 34% to 55,443 units.
On the sidelines of the Shanghai auto show, Joe Hinrichs, Ford’s group vice president and Ford China chairman, said he expects China’s overall auto sales to grow 5%-10% this year. He didn’t give Ford’s target for its 2011 sales in China, but said the company’s sales growth will outpace China’s overall sales growth.
Hinrichs said he isn’t worried about the company’s slowing auto sales growth in China and weaker overall sales growth in the country, because the current pace is more rational. China’s first-quarter auto sales rose 8.08% from a year earlier to 4.98 million units, sharply lower than the 71.8% growth recorded in the first quarter of 2010, data from semi-official China Association of Automobile Manufacturers showed.
Hinrichs also said he expects Ford’s market share in China to expand steadily, but he declined to provide a target.
He said the company will continue to focus on selling Ford-brand vehicles in China in the short term, adding the company plans to introduce 15 new models in China by 2015.
Ford, which has a passenger-vehicle joint venture with Chongqing Changan Automobile Co. (000625.SZ) and Japan’s Mazda Motor Corp. (7261.TO) in China, doesn’t have plans for Changan Ford Mazda Automobile Co. to produce vehicles under its own brand name.
However, Hinrichs said Ford is continually evaluating China’s policies and market, and is open to new opportunities.
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