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March 13, 2017

Ford to build China-specific Lincoln locally in 2019

Ford will produce luxury Lincoln SUVs in China by the end of 2019, according to a media report.

Ford will produce luxury Lincoln SUVs in China by the end of 2019, according to a media report.

In a statement cited by Reuters, Lincoln China said it would buiilt a new SUV to suit Chinese buyer preferences.

A Ford China spokesman told the news agency the Lincoln model would be built in an existing joint venture assembly plant operated with Chongqing Changan Automobile. The JV was currently seeking approval to move into local production.

Ford currently exports Lincolns to China from North America and Chinese sales rose almost 180% in 2016, the statement said.

"The move to local production is a key next step in Lincoln's evolution in China and will complement continued imports from North America," the statement added, according to Reuters.

No details of production volume or the SUV were provided.

Lincoln China president Amy Marentic told Reuters last October the brand considering local assembly. There now were plans to have 65 Lincoln dealerships by the end of 2016, instead of the 60 previously envisaged, and 80 by the end of this year.

She told the news agency the automaker would also open five to 10 smaller sales outlets in lower-tier Chinese cities where growth is strong.

Rival General Motors brand Cadillac, which already builds some models locally, reported China growth up 89.6% in February. Year to date, its sales there rose 106% while global sales were up 32.3%.

Building locally reduces taxes and makes vehicles more competitive. Other Lincoln rivals in China include Audi and BMW, both of which have large local manufacturing operations.

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