Ford Motor Co. plans to increase production of U.S.- and Canada-built vehicles that are exported to China by as many as 40,000 per year.
The Dearborn automaker will boost exports of its Edge midsize and Explorer full-size SUVs to China through a shipping port in Portland, Ore., according to vehicle processing firm Auto Warehousing Co.
Auto Warehousing expects to eventually handle the shipping of as many as 40,000 Ford vehicles to China each year. Exports should begin in the coming weeks. Ford vehicles exported to China — from all countries — and sold during the first nine months of 2013 totaled 16,405. A breakdown of vehicles exported from North America to China was not immediately available.
“The vast majority of the vehicles we sell in China are built in China,” Ford said in an emailed statement to The Detroit News. “As part of our plan to offer a full family of SUVs to Chinese consumers, we began importing the Ford Explorer from the U.S. to China this year. Explorer joins our locally produced EcoSport and Kuga, as well as Edge, which is imported from Canada.”
The Explorer is built at Ford’s Chicago Assembly Plant and is exported to 64 countries worldwide. The Edge is built in Oakville, Ontario.
The sport-utilities won’t be the only Ford vehicles made in North America and then shipped to China.
Ford plans to introduce its Lincoln luxury brand to the Chinese market in late 2014. Those Lincolns, at least initially, will be built in North America, said Dave Schoch, president of Ford Asia Pacific, during a roundtable interview last week.
While many have feared automakers may shift vehicle manufacturing from the U.S. to China for the American market, Ford is unlikely will take that route anytime soon. The Dearborn automaker can’t even meet current demand in China.
IHS Automotive predicts 32 million autos will be sold per year in China by 2020, compared with 20 million last year. China is the world’s fastest-growing auto market.