SHANGHAI - Ford Motor Co. will add four locally made vehicles to its model mix here by 2007, according to supplier sources familiar with the automaker's plans.
The automaker is rushing to catch up after a late entry into China's booming market.
Ford China executives would not discuss their plans last week. But supplier sources say the automaker will begin producing the mid-sized Mondeo sedan, the lower-medium Focus, a Mondeo-based sport wagon and the compact Maverick, an Escape-based SUV, in China over the next four years.
Ford made its passenger-car debut in China in January with the Fiesta supermini, which it produces at its Changan Ford joint-venture plant in Chongqing.
The operation will turn out 20,000 Fiestas this year.
The goal is to reach the plant's capacity of 50,000 next year.
In May, Ford also began importing the Mondeo from Taiwan. That was followed by the Maverick last month.
Another Ford venture in China has been producing light commercial vans with Jiangling Motor Corp. in Nanchang since December 1997.
As expected, the Mondeo will go into production in Chongqing from knockdown kits late this year or early next year, supplier sources confirm. In 2005, production of the Focus and Maverick will begin, followed by the Mondeo-based sport wagon in 2006. The following year, a redesigned Mondeo will go into production.
Sources say Ford will build some of the models at one of its partner's plants in Nanjing, a city several hours east of here, rather than invest to expand Changan.
The Changan joint venture has a design capacity of 150,000 to 170,000 units a year, but it would take years to expand the plant to that level.