Ford's China Sales Rise

DETROIT ( TheStreet) -- Ford ( F) said its sales in China rose 40% in 2010.

The automaker sold a record 582,467 units in China, including 56,880 in December, when its sales rose 52% from the same month a year earlier. The total included 303,283 units by Changan Ford, a passenger vehicle joint venture, and 178,999 by Jiangling Motors, a commercial vehicle investment.

Leaders included the Ford Focus, which sold 172,270 units in China in 2010, and the new Fiesta, which sold 75,199 units.

Despite the dramatic gains, Ford has a steep hill to climb in China. According to Global Insight, GM ( GM) has a 14% share in China, making it the country's largest automaker. Ford ranks thirteenth, with a 3.5% share.

Ford has made growth in India and China a top priority. But looking ahead to 2015, Global Insight sees GM's share declining to 12.3%, still the biggest, while Ford's share grows modestly to 3.7%.

"It's appropriate that in 2011, the year of the rabbit, we will be moving quickly to bring more of the vehicles Chinese consumers want and value while we continue to expand exponentially in China and across Asia Pacific," said Joe Hinrichs, CEO of Ford Motor China, in a prepared statement.

-- Written by Ted Reed in Charlotte, N.C.

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