Ford Motor Co., which reported
its biggest quarterly loss in more than four years yesterday, said it plans to
add 2,000 employees for its ventures in China, where sales more than doubled in
the first quarter.
The world's third largest carmaker's sales in China rose about 120 percent,
led by a 147 percent increase in Focus compact cars, Mondeos and Fiestas to
about 27,000 units, Ford Motor China Ltd.'s Chief Executive Officer Cheng Meiwei
"We're hiring because we're in a growth mode," Cheng said in an interview at
Boao Forum for Asia in southern China's Hainan island yesterday. He declined to
give profit or other performance figures.
Ford's growth in the world's second-biggest automotive market comes as its
global revenue fell 9 percent to $41.1 billion in the first quarter.
The Dearborn, Michigan-based company posted a $1.19 billion loss with costs
of $1.65 billion related to 30,000 job cuts and 14 plant closings for North
America by 2012.
Ford, which announced a $1.5 billion China investment plan in 2003 to take on
General Motors Corp. and Volkswagen AG, had about 1.5 percent of China's vehicle
market last year, compared with Volkswagen's 17.3 percent and General Motors
Corp.'s 11 percent.
"Our long-term goal is to become one of the top three automobile
manufacturers in China," Cheng said, adding that that would require a 10 percent
Ford's sedan venture with Chongqing Changan Automobile Co., is raising the
production capacity at its plant in southwest China's Chongqing city by 33
percent to 200,000 units by May and plans to open a new factory in eastern
China's Nanjing city next year.
The 2,000 new employees, to be hired over three years, will mostly be for the
Nanjing plant. Ford currently has about 12,000 employees at Changan Ford and at
its 30 percent owned Jiangling Motors Corp. in Nanchang, eastern China, which
makes Transit vans.
Van sales rose 57 percent to about 6,000 units in the first quarter, Cheng