Global automakers are ploughing ahead with expansion plans in China despite reports of stalling sales amid fierce competition and slowing economic growth.
Auto sales growth in China, the world's largest market, decelerated to 6.9 percent in 2014 from 13.9 percent in the previous year. Nevertheless, a total of 23.49 million vehicles were sold last year, far outpacing the United States, the world's second largest market. U.S. consumers bought 16.5 million new vehicles in 2014.
"When you look at the marketplace, it is clearly down from the double-digit growth we've seen in the last number of years. But the market's going to grow about 7 percent this year - it's still the largest growth market in the world. So I think we need to put that in perspective," Mark Fields, CEO of Ford told CNBC on the sidelines of the Shanghai Auto Show, which kicked off on Monday.
Ford's China drive
Earlier this month, Ford and its local joint venture partner Chongqing Changan Automobile announced they had paid $6.6 billion yuan ($1.1 billion) to takeover and upgrade a factory in northeast China. The factory will increase Changan Ford's production in the mainland by 200,000 vehicles, according to Reuters.