* Ford March sales down 21 pct; Jan-March down 21 pct
* China Q1 overall vehicle sales up 7 pct
* Over 70 pct of Ford vehicles benefited from tax cut
By Jake Spring
BEIJING, April 13 Ford Motor Co said on
Thursday that its China vehicle sales fell by 21 percent in the
first quarter compared with a year ago, after a tax cut on
small-engined vehicles was rolled back.
Ford trailed many of its competitors in China in the first
quarter with Toyota Motor Corp, Honda Motor Co Ltd
and others disclosing sales increases and the
automakers' association reporting a 7 percent rise for overall
Many in the industry had feared that consumers rushing to
buy small-engine cars before a tax increase at the end of 2016
would lead to weaker sales in the first few months of 2017.
Roughly 70-75 percent of Ford cars sold in China qualified
for the tax cut, which applies to vehicles with engine capacity
of 1.6 litres or below, Ford Chief Executive Mark Fields told
reporters in Shanghai on Saturday ahead of the release of Ford's
"We've always planned for the fact that (in) the first
quarter there would be payback from the pull forward of sales
into the fourth quarter (before the incentive was reduced),"
Fields said, adding that sales would improve for the rest of the
Ford's March sales fell 21 percent year-on-year to 90,457.
The purchase tax for small-engined cars climbed to 7.5
percent this year from 5 percent in 2016 after the government
stepped in to stimulate slumping sales. The tax will rise to the
normal 10 percent rate next year.
Ford said in a written statement that its sales of vehicles
that do not benefit from the purchase tax incentive rose by
(Reporting by Jake Spring; Editing by Stephen Coates)