NANJING, China, Sept. 24 (UPI) -- Ford Motor Co. launched a joint-venture factory in China Monday to make small cars under the Ford and Mazda brands for the Chinese market, the automaker said.
The $510 million facility -- located in the eastern city of Nanjing, in a Yangtze River Delta economic zone -- has an initial capacity of 160,000 vehicles a year, boosting Ford's annual passenger car capacity in China to more than 410,000 vehicles, the Dearborn, Mich., automaker said.
The new facility will "allow us to continue our rapid growth in the (Chinese) market," Ford President and Chief Executive Officer Alan Mulally said.
China is the world's fastest-growing major auto market.
The new Changan Ford Mazda Automobile plant, located next to the recently launched Changan Ford Mazda Engine Co., is flexible enough to produce eight models on different chassis, the company said.
Ford recorded an 87 percent increase in sales between 2005 and 2006 and a further 29 percent increase in this year's first eight months, with total retail sales of 114,702 vehicles this year, Ford said.
Ford makes cars in Nanjing with Japanese affiliate Mazda Motor Corp. and Chinese partner Changan Automotive Group.