Ford has started production of its Fiesta compact sedan in Chongqing, becoming the last of the world's major manufacturers to assemble cars in China. The plant will be able to produce 50,000 cars in 2004, although capacity could be later expanded to up to 170,000 cars a year. The plant is part of a joint venture in which Ford holds 50 per cent, with the remainder held by state-owned Changan Group and its subsidiary Chongqing Changan Automobile Co.
Car sales in China are expected to reach 1.4m to 1.5m units in 2003, up from 1.13m last year, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers. An analyst from the State Information Centre said China's vehicle market would overtake France to become fourth largest in the world this year.