According to Reuters, Ford said on Tuesday that it plans to produce the Mondeo in China in the second half of this year.

“Ford is going to introduce the second product, Mondeo. We will be producing the Mondeo in the second half,” Beijing-based Ford spokesman Kenneth Hsu told Reuters, adding that the company was building a new production line at its $US98 million joint venture plant with Chinese partner Chongqing Changan Automobile Company.

Reuters said Ford is considered a latecomer to the Chinese market compared to its US rival General Motors and Germany’s Volkswagen.

On Saturday, Reuters said, Ford launched the Fiesta in China with plans to sell 20,000 of them this year and 50,000 in 2004.

According to Reuters, Ford executives have also said they plan to introduce a new model each year in China.

Meanwhile, FAW Hainan Motor Company, a subsidiary of the FAW Group, has begun production of the Mazda 6 in Hainan Province.

The company began building the Premancy and 323 in May 2001 and July 2002 respectively and sold 23,000 units last year, a year-on-year increase of 120%, with a 2% share in the passenger car market.

This year, the company aims to gain a market share of 3%, doubling the sales volume target to 45,000 units through the addition of the 6.