Fords Sales in China has Dropped Since 2016, Down 26.1% in 2019.
Ford maybe in some trouble in China as sales have fallen for three years in a row. Ford started struggling in China in 2017, before the broader downturn in the Chinese auto market began in July 2018.
Ford sold 567,854 vehicles last year (half of what they did in China is 2016) and it doesn’t look like things will change anytime soon. In the fourth quarter of 2019, Ford’s sales dropped 14.7%. Ford executives also admit that the Chinese market will continue to shrink. On Monday, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers said the world’s biggest auto market is likely to shrink further this year after sales fell 8.2% in 2019 from a year earlier. A total of 25.8 million vehicles were sold last year in the country, the state-backed industry group said.
Getting to the real numbers of the Chinese economy is always a guessing game, but with inflation and food prices rising China’s market for automobiles has heavily contracted over the past year-and-a-half. Also a drop in consumer demand and tighter emissions standards hurt auto makers and dealers. The auto slump has been especially tough for American brands. Ford and General Motors have been among the hardest hit, while the German and Japanese brands have grabbed more market share.
For 2019, GM said sales dropped 15% from a year earlier, its most severe annual decline in China, which is its largest overseas market. American car makers lost 1.5 percentage points of market share from January through November, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers.
Ford’s main problem is its outdated product lineup, said Yale Zhang, head of Shanghai-based consulting firm Automotive Foresight. They haven’t done anything quick enough to be able to beat the more luxury cars and fear that being caught in the middle will hurt them even more as the economy shrinks. In addition, analysts have said, Ford’s vehicles lack some features that appeal to Chinese buyers, including internet connectivity and large touch screens that are popular in the States. Ford says it plans to launch more than 30 new models in the next three years. Ford’s pricing power in China has improved, those gains have been offset by continued sales declines, since they haven’t overhauled most models in over three years.