Ford China January Sales Almost Double on Demand for Focus Sedan

Ford Motor Co. said vehicle sales in China almost doubled last month from a year ago, led by demand for its best-selling Focus sedan.

The Dearborn, Michigan-based automaker sold 61,475 passenger cars and commercial vehicles last month wholesale in China, a 98 percent increase from a year ago, the company said in an e-mailed statement. Passenger vehicle sales surged 135 percent to 44,439 and commercial deliveries increased 42 percent to 17,128 units.

Total vehicle sales in China this year, including trucks and buses, are projected to surpass 20 million for the first time ever as the economy rebounds, according to estimates by the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers. Ford is looking to boost deliveries in the world’s largest auto market by introducing two locally produced sport utility vehicles this year, the industry’s fastest-growing segment.

Besides the Kuga, which went on sale last month, Ford plans to start selling another China-produced SUV, the EcoSport, by the end of March, the company said. It is also importing two other SUV models, the Edge and Explorer.

The maker of the Ford Mustang muscle car sold 296,360 units of the Focus sedan last year, beating General Motors Co.’s Chevrolet Sail and Buick Excelle for the title of top-selling car in China.

Ford will introduce the luxury Lincoln brand in China next year, Jim Farley, the company’s chief of Lincoln and global marketing, said in Detroit last month.

The automaker plans to introduce 15 new models in China by 2015, and boost dealerships to between 680 to 700 by that same time period, Marin Burela, president of Ford’s joint venture in China, said in November.