Ford Motor reported that its China sales ended the year on a high note, posting growth and outperforming its peer group in the country. However, the real story in China in 2021 was the increase in electric vehicles.
On Friday, Ford (ticker: F) Chinese sales reported Fourth quarter and full year figures. For the fourth quarter, unit sales came in at 167,000, up 11.9% compared to 2020.
For the full year, unit sales increased 3.7% to approximately 624,000. Ford doesn’t have significant EV offerings in China yet, so its outperformed comparison of Chinese sales of gas-powered vehicles there, which fell about 4%.
Among all types of passenger cars, sales rise in China about 4.4% In 2021, EV sales grew by nearly 150%, driven largely by EV growth.
Although Ford has outpaced its peer group, the automaker would like to sell more electric vehicles in China. EV penetration of new car sales in China was north of 20% in the last few months of the year. Overall, China sold about 3 million electric vehicles, compared to about 20 million passenger vehicles.
The EV figure includes plug-in hybrid vehicles. All-battery electric sales ranged from about 2.5 million to 2.6 million, according to data from Chinese automotive data providers and Citigroup Research.
(Treating the exact numbers can be difficult. Retail units and wholesale units differ because some EVs are exported out of the country.)
Looking ahead, Ford plans to sell the Mustang Mach-E electric crossover vehicle in China in 2022.
“Ford begins 2022 with a strong portfolio and strong momentum from the execution of our China 2.0 plans focused on electrification,” said Anning Chen, Ford China President and CEO in a company news release. “Stable rollout of new [electric] The vehicle … combined with the launch of Ford’s network of direct-to-customer battery electric vehicle stores positions us well for further growth.”
It is a good idea to strengthen the EV offering in 2022. Citigroup analyst Jeff Chung plans sales of EVs, including plug-in hybrid vehicles, to grow about 70% in China to about 5.5 million units in 2022. He forecasts sales of gasoline-powered passenger cars to be flat year over year.
Ford would like some of that business, but increasing EV sales bodes well for Chinese EV leaders. CNBC Reporting a General Motors (GM) joint venture summed up Chinese EV sales on Friday, actually produced Most Popular EV in China in 2021. It’s a very small, cheap EV though. Models from BYD (1211.HongKong) and Tesla (TSLA) took two to five spots on the most popular models list for 2021. XPeng (XPEV) and Li Auto (LI) also had models in the top 15. There was no NIO, but NIO, for now, makes high-end, low-volume vehicles.
Ford stock is down 0.2% on Friday in recent trading. Shares were downgraded from hold to hold by RBC analyst Joseph Spaak. The S&P 500 is down 0.5%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is down about 0.9%.
Write to Al Root at [email protected]