In one of the company's largest export agreements, Ford will sell more than 30,000 North American-built vehicles in China, starting in 2009.
Ford also will begin supplying transmission components and parts this year to its passenger car joint venture in China — Changan Ford Mazda Automobile Co., Ltd.
"This historic export agreement with China is another step in our commitment to accelerate the development of new products that customers want and value and leverage Ford's global assets," said Alan Mulally, president and CEO, Ford Motor Company.
"It solidifies the worldwide appeal of our products in delivering personal transportation to markets from Boston to Beijing," Mulally added. "It also is good news for the Ford teams that assemble these products and components in both the United States and Canada."
Chinese government officials were joined by senior Ford management for a signing ceremony of the vehicle export contract conducted at the United States Chamber of Commerce in Washington, D.C.
The Chinese delegation was led by Vice Premier Wang Qishan, Minister of Commerce Chen Deming and Vice Minister of Commerce Ma Xiuhong. Ziad Ojakli, Ford's group vice president for government and community relations, and Stephen Biegun, Ford's vice president for international governmental affairs, represented the company in the signing ceremony.
Ford has a long history of exporting vehicles to China, dating back to 1913. Most recently, Ford exported the Ford Escape — known as the Maverick in China — and Lincoln Navigator. These U.S.-made SUVs were well received by the Chinese market and were sold out in 2007. While Maverick was one of the best-sellers in the Chinese imported SUV market, Lincoln Navigator helped define the market for luxury full-size SUVs.
"This export program is just one part of a larger effort to continue momentum for Ford in China," said Robert Graziano, President and CEO, Ford Motor China Ltd. "We are continuously broadening our product offerings, satisfying customer needs and achieving the sales and growth we have been working toward."
Ford Motor China recorded sales of 90,791 passenger cars and commercial vehicles in the first quarter of 2008, a 47 percent increase over the same period last year.
The Ford brand vehicles sold in the China market include Ford Focus, Ford Mondeo, Ford S-MAX and Ford Transit.
With the new Ford Fiesta to be launched by the end of this year, Ford's product offering in China will cover a range of vehicles from small cars to SUVs to the light bus segments.
Full details of the vehicles to be exported beginning in 2009 will be announced later.