Ford Motor Co. said global sales will rise 50 percent by 2015 to 8 million vehicles annually, driven by expansion in Asia and growing demand for small cars.
The automaker expects that by 2020, 55 percent of vehicle sales will be small cars and a third of sales will be in Asia, John Stoll, a spokesman, said in an e-mail. The target will be announced during an investor presentation today, he said.
Toyota Motor Corp. led the world in automobile sales last year with 8.42 million, topping General Motors Co. by 30,000. Volkswagen AG, third last year at 7.14 million, has said it aims to sell 10 million autos by 2018. Executives privately aim to meet that goal by 2015, a person with knowledge of the matter said in October. Ford sold 5.3 million vehicles last year.
“Ford is playing catch up in China because VW and GM are so dominant there,” Rebecca Lindland, an analyst with researcher IHS Automotive, said in an interview. “They still have work to do in Asia and they have work to do in small cars because people don’t think of Ford for small cars.”
Ford rose 23 cents, or 1.6 percent, to $14.14 at 8:25 a.m., before the open of the New York Stock Exchange.
The second-largest U.S. automaker earned $9.28 billion in the past two years after $30.1 billion in losses from 2006 through 2008. Ford still gets most of its sales and profits from the U.S. and Europe. It had 2.4 percent share of the passenger- vehicle market in China, the world’s largest auto market, J.D. Power & Associates said in April. GM’s share was 10 percent.
‘Expand in Asia’
“They have to be less dependent on the U.S. and expand in Asia and China, the fastest growing markets in the world,” Lexington, Massachusetts-based Lindland said of Ford. “That’s where the growth opportunities are and they have to be there.”
Ford is building a new plant in the southwestern Chinese city of Chongqing with its passenger-vehicle joint venture Changan Ford Mazda Automobile Co. and plans to set up a new engine plant there. It sells the Focus compact and Fiesta subcompact in China, where it plans to introduce 15 models and double the number of dealerships to 680 by 2015.
Those new small cars and the redesigned Explorer sport- utility vehicle are commanding higher prices in the U.S., which helped boost first quarter earnings 22 percent to $2.55 billion, the most for the period since 1998.
The automaker borrowed $23.4 billion in late 2006, putting up all major assets including its blue oval logo as collateral. The cash helped Ford to avoid the bankruptcies and bailouts that befell the predecessors of GM and Chrysler Group LLC.
The New York Times reported the sales target earlier.
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