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In face of slowdown, Ford cuts China production

POSTED BY Nigel Andretti ON 22 May 2015

FORD has reduced production in China there as vehicle sales cool in the world’s largest auto market.

“We have seen a little bit of a slowdown in showroom traffic,” David Schoch, president of Ford’s Asia-Pacific unit, told reporters this week at the automaker’s Dearborn, Michigan, headquarters.

“If there is softness in the market, I won’t let stocks build and we’ll cut production. We have had some production cuts, but it’s nothing material.”

He declined to say how much output was lowered or which models were affected. The reductions were during the first quarter, Schoch said.

Ford is on a building boom in China as growth in that market is slowing, Bloomberg reported. Ford will open four factories and introduce a record 18 models in China this year, where it commanded 4.5 percent of the market in the first quarter, trailing leaders General Motors and Volkswagen.

Ford last month cut its forecast for 2015 industry-wide China sales by 500,000 cars and trucks, predicting market growth of 7 percent.

ford edge

“We are seeing signs of some slower growth,” Mark Fields, Ford’s chief executive officer, told analysts April 28. “We are seeing more pricing pressure in some segments. But I think we have a lot of confidence in our future there because we have a strong product portfolio.”

The company expects sales growth in this year’s second half to come from new models, redesigned for China, such as a seven-passenger Edge sport utility vehicle (above) and a stretched version of the Taurus sedan, Schoch said.

Ford is counting on the new products rather than matching competitors’ price cuts, he said.

“I don’t want to necessarily reduce prices because our products are very good,” Schoch said. “I want to make sure that they hold their value.”

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