Increased focus on China brings range of moves in personnel and facilities
The popular Focus helped drive a 40 percent increase in Ford sales in the first three quarters this year, when it sold nearly 420,000 vehicles in China. [Photo / China Daily]
SHANGHAI - Ford Motor Co last week appointed Marin Burela president of its China passenger car joint venture Changan Ford Mazda Automobile Co effective from Nov 1.
His predecessor Jeffrey Shen will retire by the end of this year.
Burela was previously president and CEO of Ford Australia and New Zealand. He has held senior positions in North America and Europe, including global small car vehicle line director. He led the development of Ford's small car product portfolio, including the new global Ford Fiesta.
Robert Graziano, whose current role is chairman and CEO of Ford China, will succeed Burela on Nov 1 to lead the continued expansion of Ford's model lineup in Australia, where the company will launch the all-new Ford Ranger pickup truck, one of the most important new products of the global Ford plan.
Joe Hinrichs, president of Ford's Asia Pacific and Africa region that is headquartered in Shanghai, will assume additional responsibilities as chairman and CEO of Ford China from Nov 1.
The appointment of Hinrichs reflects "the importance of Ford's expansion in the world's largest automotive market and the continued integration of its regional and China operations", the company said in a statement.
It also said that the appointments are expected to help Ford continue to expand its operations in the Asia-Pacific and Africa regions, which will contribute 70 percent of its growth in the next 10 years, with the majority coming from China.
Ford's Asia-Pacific and Africa region encompasses markets on three continents, including Australia, China, India, Thailand and South Africa, where Ford has invested $4 billion since 2006 and employs more than 25,000 people.
Vehicle sales in the region are estimated to more than double to 35 million units by 2018 from 16 million in 2009, according to statistics provided by Ford.
Ford's China joint venture with Chongqing Chang'an Automobile Co and Japan's Mazda Motor Co now has two plants - one in Chongqing and another in Nanjing producing the Ford Focus, Fiesta, Mondeo and S-MAX.
The company's third plant is now under construction in Chongqing and will be completed in 2012 as part of its accelerated expansion in China.
Ford is also in preparation for a second engine plant at its joint venture. In September this year it signed a memorandum with the Chongqing municipal government to build a 400,000-unit engine factory that is set to begin construction next year and start production in 2013.
Ford also holds a 30 percent share in Jiangling Motors Co (JMC), a commercial vehicle manufacturer that builds the Ford Transit vans and other JMC vehicles in China.
In the first three quarters this year, Ford's China sales increased 40 percent on an annual basis to nearly 420,000 vehicles.
But as a later arrival that began local production in 2003, the company still lags far behind its US counterpart General Motors in China, where GM delivered 1.78 million vehicles between January and September this year.
According to recent media reports, Ford is likely to reduce its share in Mazda and form a joint venture with Chinese partner Chang'an separately for a quicker development in the country and other emerging markets.