Ford Sales in China in High Gear, GM Slumps

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After trailing Toyota Motor Corp. (NYSE: TM) and Honda Motor Co. Ltd. (NYSE: HMC) in sales in China for the better part of a decade, it looks like Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F) has edged past them in 2013. Reuters reported Monday that Ford and its local partners boosted sales in the world’s largest auto market last year by nearly 50% to more than 935,000 vehicles.

Ford also said it sold almost 99,000 cars and light trucks in the nation in December, a 35% gain over the same period of 2012.

Its line-up of new and revamped vehicles, including a redesign of the top-selling Ford Focus, helped the year-on-year boost in sales in China. The company introduced a couple of small sport-utility vehicles and added the redesigned Mondeo, which is marketed in North America as the Fusion.

Ford sales were also helped by the lingering effects of a territorial dispute between China and Japan over some islands, which led to protests and boycotts of Japanese products in China in 2012.

Toyota and its local partners reported selling more than 917,000 vehicles in China in 2013. That was 9.2% higher than in 2012. Honda sold almost 757,000 vehicles, a 26.4% gain year over year.

Ford still has a long way to go to catch up with the sales leaders in China — General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM) and Volkswagen. GM said it sold more than 2.7 million vehicles in 2013, a 7.3% increase year over year. However, it saw a 6.3% drop in sales in December, a slump across all its brands. Volkswagen is expected to have edged out GM by selling about 3 million vehicles in China in 2013. That would put it on top for the first time in nine years.