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Ford's China partner seeks sales expansion in Europe

SHANGHAI (Reuters) -- Jiangling Motors Co. Group, Ford Motor Co.'s China partner, plans to double its dealerships in Europe to 500 next year as it seeks to boost exports amid fierce competition, a Jiangling executive said today.

"We will keep up the momentum in developing markets in the coming years, but Europe will be our next major focus," Liang Bo, deputy general manger of Jiangling's exports arm, told Reuters.

Jiangling Motors Co. Group (JMCG), the state parent of Shenzhen-listed Jiangling Motors Co. Ltd., in which Ford holds a 30 percent stake, is among a small club of ambitious Chinese automakers hoping to make a name overseas.

JMCG has been selling its own sports utility vehicles (SUVs), as well as pickups and light trucks made by listed Jiangling in overseas developing markets, such as South America, Asia and Middle East, for years.

The group only started to enter the European market in 2005, when it shipped roughly 800 of its Landwind SUVs to European countries, mostly in the Netherlands.

"We've signed up roughly 200 dealerships there in countries litke Germany, France and the Netherlands. We are working to boost that number to 400 or 500 next year," Liang said in a telephone interview.

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