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Sales in the U.S. slumped last month for Ford Motor Co. and most other automakers, but the Dearborn-based automaker’s Chinese sales grew 15 percent in June.

Ford and its Chinese joint ventures sold 100,561 vehicles there in June, the best-ever sales for that month. The company sold 537,522 vehicles there in the first half of the year, down 7 percent compared to the same period a year ago.

Those results come as Ford grows its footprint in China through sales and production. The automaker has found a new market for several of its U.S.-made vehicles, as well as those it produces with the Changan Ford Automobile and Jiangling Motor Corporation joint ventures.

Ford plans to build an all-new Lincoln SUV exclusive to the Chinese market in China by the end of 2019. And Ford leadership plans to move all U.S. production of the struggling Focus sedan to China in the second half of 2019, marking the first time a Chinese-made Ford vehicle is imported to the U.S. from those operations.

Meanwhile, in the U.S., Ford June sales slipped 5 percent compared to a year ago, due largely to poor small car sales and a reduction in fleet sales.

But Chinese sales in June were driven by strong Ford Mondeo sales, a four-door sedan. Ford sold 17 percent more of those vehicles last month compared to the previous year, which runs counter to the plummeting passenger car sales Ford and other automakers are encountering in the U.S.

China is not insulated from the current SUV craze, though.

Among the joint ventures, the Ford Escort sales grew 30 percent year over year in June, though overall sales through the first six months are down 9 percent. The Lincoln MKC and the Navigator both saw sales increases.

Ford also sold 121 imported F-150 Raptors in June, and 488 in the first half of the year. The company also sold 2,070 Mustangs in those first two quarters.

The company in 2016 sold a record 1.27 million vehicles in China, though the company’s imported vehicle volume for 2016 was down overall from 2015.

ithibodeau@detnews.com

Twitter: @Ian_Thibodeau

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