Ford China Sales Plunge 18% in January

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Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F) is off to a rocky start in China this year. January sales tumbled 18% to 75,990 units, including sales of 46,888 at the company’s joint venture with Changan and sales of 22,794 in the joint venture with Jiangling.

Sales of Ford vehicles imported into China fell 36% and the lone bright spot was an uptick of 7% in Lincoln sales.

The company’s CEO and chairman, Jason Luo, resigned suddenly in late January after just five months on the job. Group vice-president and president of Ford Asia Pacific, Peter Fleet, will assume Luo’s responsibilities until Luo’s replacement is named.

Every vehicle sold through the Changan joint venture posted a year-over-year sales decline in January. The biggest dip came in sales of Ford’s venerable Taurus sedan, which saw sales decline 53% to just 1,698 units. Ford’s Focus had a drop of 44% to 7,064 units. The Changan joint venture vehicles saw sales drop 29%.

Sales of the Jiangling JMC pickup truck rose 26% to 6,580 units, and the all-new Tourneo, a “leisure activity vehicle” based on the Transit Connect van, sold 389 units in its first full month. Sales of the JMC light truck rose 41% to 6,822 units, and sales of all vehicles from the Jiangling joint venture rose 13%.

The best seller among Lincoln vehicles was the Continental, with a sales increase of 136% to 1,200 units. Among the company’s imports, sales of the Explorer fell 40% to 968 and Mustang sales dropped 22% to 309.

For comparison, General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM) posted sales of 367,712 units in China last month, an increase of 14.5% year over year. Chevrolet sales rose 40% and Cadillac sales rose 12%.