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Ford Sales in China Gain Nearly 30 Percent

Ford said on Tuesday that its retail sales of vehicles in China rose 30 percent in the first three quarters from a year earlier to 149,455 units.

Sales of Ford brand vehicles, both locally produced and imported, came to 135,073 units during the period, up 27 percent, it said in a statement.

Changan Ford Mazda, a three-way tie-up among Ford, Japan's Mazda and Changan Automobile, sold 150,365 vehicles from January to September, up 59 percent from a year earlier.

Sales of the hot-selling mid-sized Focus sedan, popular among young professionals, rose 69 percent to 90,249 units, while sales of premium brands such as Volvo, Jaguar and Land Rover were up 72 percent at 14,063 units.

Ford, the number-two U.S. automaker, is a relative latecomer to the world's second-largest auto market, currently dominated by General Motorsand Volkswagen.

But it is catching up fast as it ramps up capacity. Last month, Ford unveiled a $510 million vehicle manufacturing plant in the eastern city of Nanjing, near Shanghai, along with its China partners, boosting its car production capacity in the country to more than 410,000 units.

For the full year, it is expected to ship 300,000 to 350,000 vehicles to dealers in China this year, up from 260,000 to 270,000 units in 2006, an industry source told Reuters in July.

Other foreign automakers operating in the country, including GM, Volkswagen and Toyota, have yet to release China sales figures for the first three quarters.

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