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Ford's China Sales Recover in March, Q1 Volume Up 14% Y/Y

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Ford Motor Co.’s (F - Free Report) shares gained 0.24% to close at $12.55 on Apr 8, after the automaker reported improvement in China sales for March and the first quarter of 2016.

Ford’s China sales improved 5% year over year to 114,788 vehicles in Mar 2016. Also, the automaker witnessed a 14% year-over-year increase in sales in the world’s largest automobile market to 314,454 vehicles in the first quarter of 2016.

Ford’s passenger car joint venture, Changan Ford Automobile (“CAF”) recorded a 12% year-over-year growth in vehicle sales to 84,292 units in Mar 2016. CAF sales surged 23% year over year to 244,411 units in the first three months of 2016.

Ford's commercial vehicle investment in China, Jiangling Motors Corporation (“JMC”), sold 28,997 vehicles in Mar 2016. Notably, sales declined 8% from the figure recorded in Mar 2015. Further, JMC sales plunged 11% year over year to 60,306 vehicles in the first quarter of 2016.

In Oct 2015, Ford announced that it will invest nearly 11.4 billion yuan ($1.8 billion) for research and development in China over the next five years. The automaker has been trying to enhance its sales in the Chinese market by modifying its vehicles to meet consumer preferences. As a result, it has gained significant market share over the last few years.

Ford will also expand its portfolio of hybrid, plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles in the nation over the next few years. This year, the company is slated to launch C-MAX Energi, a plug-in hybrid, and the Mondeo conventional hybrid in China.

Ford currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Some better-ranked automobile stocks include Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. (CTB - Free Report) , Visteon Corporation (VC - Free Report) and The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company (GT - Free Report) . While Cooper Tire currently sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), both Goodyear and Visteon hold a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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