Business / Auto China

Changan Ford eyes the open highways

By Li Fangfang (China Daily) Updated: 2014-11-24 11:05

Changan Ford eyes the open highways
The Ford Escort is pictured in the Changan Ford third plant on Nov 4, 2014. [Photo / Xinhua]

Henry Ford's vision of "opening the highways to all mankind", which was the line of promise accompanying a recently restored painting titled Visions of Tomorrow in an eye-catching 1925 advertisement, is still at the heart of the company's vision for the future today.

"That is what still motivates us to support modern mobility now and in the future," said Marin Burela, president and CEO of the US automaker's local joint venture Changan Ford Automobile Co Ltd.

From its simple beginnings 13 years ago, Changan Ford has worked hard to achieve consistent growth, which in recent years has blossomed into accelerated expansion.

As of August of 2010, the company had sold a total of 1 million units in China. That number doubled in July last year, and in July this year the company reached a new milestone of 3 million units in total sales.

"In 2013, the 62 percent year-on-year increase in sales made us the fastest growing auto joint venture in China," said Burela. "And in the first ten months of this year, even though the overall market only improved 6.6 percent, we have still grown at 23 percent from a year earlier."

Now the company's aim is to be one of the top three Chinese car companies in near future, Burela said.

To achieve this goal, it is aggressively expanding both its product portfolio and capacity, and enhancing the quality of both the products and services it offers customers.

Changan Ford has grown and evolved from producing only one model, the Fiesta, in 2003, to having an impressive line-up of popular models, including the Ford New Mondeo, Zhisheng, Changan Ford New Focus, Changan Ford Classic Focus, Ford New Fiesta, Ford Kuga and Ford EcoSport.

Burela is particularly proud of the success of the Ford Focus, which has been one of the best-selling cars in China in the past two years.

Looking forward, he is optimistic about further opening up the roads for Chinese drivers as the company launches a variety of new models.

At the Guangzhou international auto show, the company is introducing three all-new models, the All New Ford Escort, the All New Ford Edge and the All New Ford Taurus.

"The stylish All New Ford Escort utilizes Ford's cutting-edge global engineering and R&D capabilities to offer the five key advantages of elegant design, world-class quality, outstanding fuel economy, exceptional roominess, and reliable safety to Chinese families," said Burela.

Meanwhile, the three-row seven-seat LSUV All New Ford Edge is a crossover that can meet business and family needs, providing "a balance between life and work".

And to leverage Ford's global vehicle experience to meet the desires of Chinese customers wanting a high-end vehicle, Changan Ford has introduced the All New Ford Taurus, extending the company's product lineup into a premier segment.

"We opened our heart sincerely and honestly to customers and listened carefully and developed these cars according to Chinese consumers' requirements for different segments," said Burela. "Our constantly developing and expanding product lineup forms the cornerstone for our steady sales growth in an environment of intense competition."

In order to meet the growing demand and provide the best aftersales service, Changan Ford has also continuously added to its dealer network and has also made service training and staff improvement a top priority in order to ensure the best possible ownership experience.

There were only 17 dealers in 2003, but after 13 years of steady growth, the dealer network has expanded dramatically, especially in recently years.

With the historic, simultaneous grand openings of 88 dealers in one day in June, the number of dealer points is expected to be more than 800 by the end of this year.

Furthermore, the company has made considerable investments in two new plants to expand its annual capacity to more than 1.2 million by 2015.

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