Ford’s China Sales Thrive as North America Stays in Hibernation

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Whiles its sales stateside remained frosty through the month of February, Ford (NYSE:F) was once again able to rely on its operations in China to provide some warmth, as sales in the country surged 67 percent over February 2013 to 73,040 wholesales, the company says.

That’s on top of Ford’s 53 percent leap in January and a 35 percent jump in December. So far this year, sales in China overall are up 59 percent. Passenger car sales grew 88 percent in February, with 56,284 vehicles moved in comparison to the 29,950 sold in February 2013. Ford has sold 128,882 passenger cars so far in 2014, up 73 percent from 74,389 vehicles sold during the same period last year, the company said.

Changan Ford Automobile, Ford’s Chinese joint venture, sold 53,272 vehicles during the month, up 81 percent from the 29,389 sold during the same period last year. Year-to-date sales flew past the 100,000 mark to 123,310, up 70 percent when compared to the first two months of last year.

The Ford Mondeo — known domestically as the Fusion — and the Ford Focus were the two major drivers behind Ford’s exceptional growth, up 123 percent and 13 percent, respectively. The Mondeo sold 7,755 units; the Focus moved 27,899 vehicles.

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In the U.S., Ford saw its sales decline by 6 percent, as its namesake line of vehicles fell 7 percent off the mark. A surge in Lincoln’s U.S. deliveries — 36 percent to 6,661 — units wasn’t enough to offset the total volume despite robust demand for the MKZ sedan. Ford will be introducing the Lincoln line in China this summer, and it’s expected to do quite well there.

“Sales surged in the final week, providing us momentum after a slow start to the month,” said John Felice, Ford vice president of U.S. marketing, sales, and service, in the company’s statement earlier this week.

Ford had 697,000 vehicles sitting in inventory at the end of February in the U.S., equating to a 91-day supply of vehicles. That’s down from the 111-day supply in January, though up from the 71-day supply recorded in February of last year. The swelling inventories have caused automakers, including Ford, to ramp up incentive efforts to help clear out the backlog.

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