today announces plans to invest $600 million in its Changan Ford Automobile joint-venture plant in Chongqing, China.
The expenditure will expand capacity there by 350,000 vehicles, raising’s total capacity in China to 950,000 vehicles annually and increasing its investment there to $4.1 billion.
“We are going further in China and across Asia,” Joe Hinrichs, president of Ford Asia-Pacific and Africa, says in a statement. “This expansion is an investment in Ford’s long-term future globally and will help us to achieve our goal of increasing worldwide sales by nearly 50% by mid-decade to about 8 million vehicles per year.”
Ford says the planned expansion will extend the facilities at Chongqing – the largest global manufacturing plant for the auto maker outside Michigan – with a new assembly line, body and paint shop.
The JV already operates two car factories and an engine plant in Chongqing, with another engine and transmission facility currently under construction.
Construction will begin immediately, and the first vehicle is expected to roll off the line in late 2014.
Ford’s Chongqing plant currently produces the Focus, based on the auto maker’s global C-class platform. Plans call for up to 10 different models of vehicles and a total of 2 million units to be built on the platform at Chongqing and other plants around the Ford world.
The auto maker says it will introduce 15 new vehicles and 20 new engines and transmissions in China by 2015 as part of a plant to broaden its product portfolio and powertrain offerings in the country.