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Ford Expands Into China Heavy Truck Market With Acquisition

Ford Motor Co.’s Chinese commercial vehicle unit agreed to buy a heavy-truck maker for as much as 270 million yuan ($42 million), as the U.S. automaker expands beyond passenger cars in the world’s largest auto market.

Jiangling Motors Corp., in which Ford owns a 30 percent stake, will pay cash to acquire Shanxi province-based Taiyuan Changan Heavy Truck Co. from China Changan Automobile and China South Industries Group Corp., Ford said today in an e-mailed statement. The exact price is still subject to final deal terms, Claire Li, a Shanghai-based spokeswoman for Ford, said in a separate e-mail.

“JMC’s acquisition represents a great opportunity to continue to expand the breadth of our business in China across vehicle segments,” David Schoch, chairman and chief executive officer of Ford China, said in the statement. “A strong heavy truck operation like Taiyuan will complement Ford’s existing passenger car and light commercial vehicle operations here in the world’s largest and fastest-growing vehicle market.”

Ford, seeking to accelerate its growth in China, plans to introduce 15 new vehicle models in the country by 2015. The Dearborn, Michigan-based automaker and its partners are building five new plants, including a $300 million factory that will produce both Ford and JMC-branded vehicles.

Taiyuan Changan won’t make Ford-branded vehicles, Trevor Hale, a Shanghai-based spokesman for Ford, said by telephone.

The state-backed China Association for Automobile Manufacturers said on July 26 commercial-vehicle sales may decline 3 percent this year to 3.91 million units, cutting its estimate from the previous prediction made in January for a 2 percent increase.

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