Ford Motor Co said on Thursday it has promoted Sam Wu to head up its China business as the US automaker seeks to reverse a more than five-year sales slump in the world’s largest auto market.
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Wu will move up to the role of president and chief executive of Ford China from his current position as its managing director and chief operating officer on March 1, Ford said in a statement. He takes over from Anning Chen, who will retire from the company on October 1.
Chen, a former Ford engineer and chairman of Chery Jaguar Land Rover in China, was appointed in 2018. The US automaker’s China sales had begun to contract in late 2017, in part due to the lack of a popular SUV for the market.
Since 2019, it has launched a series of new models in China but recovery has been bumpy, in part due to the rise of local electric vehicle competitors as well as the COVID-19 pandemic.
Its partners in China are Changan Automobile Group and Jiangling Motors Group
Sales last year across China’s auto industry were particularly dismal, as COVID-19 lockdowns hit consumer demand as well as production.
For the first three quarters of 2022, Ford sold 378,000 cars in China. That compares with 624,000 in 2021 and 602,627 in 2020, well below the 1.19 million sold in 2017.
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