Ford's China Sales Sink Lower in October

Recent turnaround efforts notwithstanding, Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F) continues having a very bad year in China. Sales fell 45% year over year in October and are down 31% for the first 10 months of the year. If there’s any good news, it’s that Ford’s problems are not unique.

Auto sales fell by 12% across China in October, the fourth consecutive month of declining sales according to data from the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers. For the year to date, passenger car sales are down 1%, the first time in nearly 30 years that car sales are lower year over year.

General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM), which no longer reports monthly sales, reported last month that September sales in China dropped nearly 15% and year-to-date sales are down by 2.5%. China is GM’s largest market and the company could really be hurt by a bigger drop in sales. Volkswagen, also a big player in China, reported that sales fell 9.8% in October.

Late last month, Ford reorganized its Asia Pacific segment and created a new Ford China division under the leadership of Anning Chen, a former Ford executive who has also been CEO of Chery and board chair of Chery Jaguar Land Rover, Automotive, China, as the first president and CEO of Ford China. Chen took over on November 1.

Sales of the Lincoln brand fell 6% year over year in October but remains 3% higher for the first 10 months of the year. Year-to-date sales of Lincoln brand vehicles totaled 44,369 and October sales totaled 4,753 units.

Ford’s two Chinese joint ventures, Changan Ford Automobile (CAF) and Jiangling Motor Corporation (JMC), saw sales plunge 58% and 17%, respectively, in October. For the year to date, CAF sales are down 43% and JMC sales have dropped 8%.

Ford vehicles imported from the United States accounted for just 1,248 October sales and a meager 13,590 for the year to date. October sales were down 15% year over year, as were year-to-date sales.

Ford has also struck a joint venture with Zotye Auto, to create Ford Smart Mobility to “focus on providing smart, customized all-electric vehicles” to fleet operators and drivers in China’s “fast-growing ride-hailing market.” Zotye has announced a plan to recruit 20 U.S. dealers to launch its low-priced crossover, the T600, which sells for $11,700 to $20,200 in China. Tariffs on Chinese imports will add to the cost if and when they are imposed.

Ford’s stock traded up about 1.2% just after the noon hour Tuesday, at $9.60 in a 52-week range of $8.17 to $13.48. The stock’s 12-month consensus price target is $9.84.