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UPDATE 1-Ford's China sales post strongest growth of year in June

(Adds executive comments)

BEIJING, July 6 (Reuters) - Ford Motor Co said its China sales surged 15 percent in June, their strongest pace of the year, as the industry puts the phasing out of a tax cut behind it, adding that it was optimistic about the outlook for the second half.

Peter Fleet, Ford's Asia-Pacific chief, said the first quarter had been difficult after a tax on car purchases rose to 7.5 percent from 5 percent previously.

Although Ford's China sales declined 7 percent in the first-half from the same period a year ago, they were up 7 percent in the second quarter. Sales for June alone climbed to more than 100,000 vehicles.

"I would expect to see for the third-quarter strong single digit percentage growth (for) the industry. That's certainly how it looks to us based on the run rate and how the month of July has opened up," Fleet said.

Ford's level of discounting tracked an overall 4 percent price decline for the industry so far this year, he said.

"I'm not interested in driving our prices down to drive market share," Fleet said. (Reporting by Norihiko Shirouzu and Jake Spring; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)