* Lincoln vehicles currently imported into China
* Their sales jumped nearly 180 pct in 2016, says company
(Adds details from statement and background)
BEIJING, March 13 Ford Motor Co's luxury
unit Lincoln plans to produce luxury SUVs in China by late 2019,
as it steps up its move into the world's largest auto market and
aims to catch up with German and U.S. rivals who already
manufacture in the Asian nation.
The plan is to build an all-new sports utility vehicle (SUV)
to suit Chinese tastes, Lincoln China said in a statement. Ford
plans to use an existing assembly plant it jointly operates with
Chongqing Changan Automobile Co Ltd to produce the
Lincoln vehicles, a Ford spokesman in Shanghai said.
Lincoln vehicles are currently imported into China, and
their sales have jumped nearly 180 percent in 2016, the
"The move to local production is a key next step in
Lincoln’s evolution in China and will complement continued
imports from North America," it said.
The statement gave no other details about the plans. The
Ford spokesman declined to give the model's anticipated
production volume or describe the model other than to say it is
The Changan-Ford joint venture is in the process of getting
approval for this move to produce Lincoln vehicles locally in
China, said the spokesman.
Lincoln China President Amy Marentic told Reuters in October
that the brand was studying whether to produce cars locally in
Lincoln was accelerating its entry into China with plans to
have 65 Lincoln stores by the end of 2016, instead of previous
plans of 60, with 80 planned for year-end 2017, she said.
Marentic said the company would also open five to 10 smaller
sales branches to tap into fast-growing auto sales in lower-tier
(Reporting by Norihiko Shirouzu; Editing by Himani Sarkar and