Reuters reported Tuesday that Ford is poised to overtake Toyota ( TM) and Honda ( HMC) in China as Japanese automakers continue to be impacted by conflict between the two countries. Ford is likely to sell more than 900,000 vehicles this year, while Toyota and Honda are targeting 900,000 and 750,000 respectively, Reuters reported.

Meanwhile, market leaders GM ( GM) and Volkswagen expect to sell more than 3 million, while Nissan ( NSANY) is shooting for 1.25 million, Reuters said. Ford entered Chinese markets in the 1990s, later than its competitors, and only recently did Mulally target growth in the region.

Ford is growing market share in China just as it is growing market share in the U.S., where its year-to-date market share is 16%, up from 15.5% in 2012, according to But Ford projects much more rapid growth in Asia. It said Asia Pacific auto sales should rise to 46% of the world total in 2020, up from 41% of the total in 2012, while Europe and North America are both expected to lose ground.

Ford's sales in China totaled 647,849 units in the first three quarters, up 51% from the same period a year earlier, Ford said Wednesday. September sales rose 61% to 96,111 units. Schoch said China auto sales are being fueled by demand for luxury vehicles and SUVs. September sales of the Ford Kuga, known as the Escape in the U.S., totaled 10,365 units.

Ford posted a pretax profit of $183 million in Asia in the first half of 2013, a swing from a year-earlier loss of $161 million. Schoch said he expects the region to be profitable in 2013 and to be "a major contributor" to Ford profit by mid-decade.

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

>To contact the writer of this article, click here: Ted Reed

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