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Ford China unit to invest $600m to raise capacity by 60

MUMBAI - Ford’s China unit will invest about $600 million to increase the capacity of one of its passenger-car factories by almost 60 percent as it looks to expand in the world’s largest auto market.

Ford Motor Co., along with partner Changan Automobile, will raise capacity at its factory in Chongqing by 350,000 units to 950,000 vehicles annually by 2014, Ford said Thursday.

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The expansion is part of Ford chief executive Alan Mulally’s push to increase annual sales by 50 percent to 8 million vehicles by 2015 and have one third of its deliveries in Asia by 2020.

Ford will introduce 15 new vehicles in China by 2015, the automaker said.

China’s vehicle sales this year will probably miss their 8 percent growth forecast as the slowing economy and rising fuel costs curb buying, Gu Xianghua, deputy secretary general of the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers, predicted last month.

Vehicle sales growth in China slowed last year from 32 percent in 2010 after the government withdrew tax breaks and rebates that helped the country overtake the United States.

Total auto sales in the country grew 2.5 percent in 2011, according to the industry group.

“Expanding our production capacity in Chongqing is a key part of our aggressive growth plans in China and Asia,’’ said David Schoch, chairman of Ford China.

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