SHANGHAI -- Ford Motor Co. is adding two dealerships a week in China and wishes it could go even faster, said Joe Hinrichs, the company's top executive for Asia-Pacific and CEO of Ford China.
The automaker had only 340 dealerships in China at the end of last year, but plans to double that by 2015.
"The faster we can go, the more people we can touch," he said. "We're launching two new dealerships every week, and we have been for quite some time. That means finding the right locations, the right people, hiring those people and training them."
The dealers are all private entrepreneurs.
Ford said last week it would launch 15 all-new models in China by 2015, excluding derivatives and facelifts.
Hinrichs said Ford would consider offering Lincoln in China.
Hinrichs said that's more significant than the usual automaker boast about big numbers of new models in the pipeline. Last year Ford offered only five separate models in China. Adding new ones means adding market share, he said, because Ford products such as the Focus and Fiesta do much better in their segments than the brand's overall market share of less than 3 percent.
"We think Lincoln is an opportunity, but we don't have it in the plan right now," he said. "The 15 new products are all Ford products."
Hinrichs also isn't ready to commit to an indigenous, low-cost brand with a Chinese joint-venture partner, as General Motors, Honda Motor Co. and Nissan Motor Co. are doing -- and Volkswagen AG is considering.
"Right now we are focusing on the Ford brand," he said. "But we're watching what's happening in the industry, and there has been a large number of developments on the JV front.
"We're also watching the government's auto policy. We'll adapt if appropriate."
Ford's sales in China rose 40 percent last year to 582,467 vehicles. They were up 20 percent in March to 53,440, outpacing the overall market's 5 percent gain.