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Slower growth in China doesn't worry Ford

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The economy in China may be slowing, but Ford says its plans for future sales increases are still on track.

Ford of China head Dave Schock says the days of "frantic" double-digit GDP growth are likely over. But he says the government plans to transition the economy to a 7% rate of growth, which means plenty of opportunities to increase car sales. 

Ford is pinning its hopes on so-called Tier 3 through Tier 6 cities in China. Those are small to mid-sized cities (a small city in China can still have several million residents.) 

Ford executives expect the trend of a growing middle class to continue, which means more people who can afford a car.

The Dearborn automaker will launch a record 18 vehicles in China this year.

By next year, the company will have six assembly plants.

The automaker just introduced the Lincoln brand to Chinese luxury customers in 2014, and plans to go from 14 Lincoln dealerships this year, to 60 next year.

Some automakers, including General Motors, are cutting prices on vehicles as demand slows. But Schock says Ford has no plans at this point to do the same.

Instead, Ford will cut back production if necessary.

Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Radio. She began her career at Michigan Radio as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.
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