DURBAN - Ford Motor Co will consider building Ford-branded pickup trucks in China if restrictions on driving pickups in cities are relaxed and it could also roll out customized models at that time, a senior company official said.
Ford was among foreign automakers exhibiting their wares this week at the China International Import Expo (CIIE) in Shanghai, a fair aimed at showcasing the country’s free trade credentials.
Many of the vehicles that Ford, General Motors and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles put on show were pickup trucks, a segment of the Chinese market that has remained relatively resilient even as the overall industry braces for a second year of dipping sales.
Demand for pickups - both from traditional farm and construction-related customers as well as newer interest from general car buyers - has increased and last year China became the world’s second-biggest pickup truck market.
But many big Chinese cities restrict pickups from entering their centers, an obstacle for sales growth. But some urban areas have relaxed the rules in recent years, boosting pickup sales.