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Ford Escort Makes its Return in Beijing

No plans for U.S. revival.

by on Apr.21, 2014

Ford revives the Escort for the Chinese market.

One of Ford’s most familiar – and longest running – nameplates is about to make its return, the Detroit-based maker unveiling an all-new Escort during the Beijing Motor Show.

For those who might have already forgotten, Escort was Ford’s once-popular compact, introduced in 1968 in Europe and 1981 here in the States. It continued in production through 2002, when it was replaced in Europe by the Focus which followed across the Atlantic a year later.


The new Chinese Ford Escort will serve to fill a gap in the compact, or C-segment of that country’s booming automotive market – which now accounts for 25% of Chinese car sales — and the automaker hopes Escort will deliver some added momentum in a bid to catch up to rivals like General Motors and Volkswagen. Ford was a latecomer to the Chinese market but has experienced spectacular growth there over the last couple years.


Chinese Auto Market Could Soon be Larger than US, Europe Combined

But skeptics warn China's boom could go bust.

by on Apr.22, 2013

The Buick Riviera Concept.

Ford and General Motors are charging forward into the past this week at the Shanghai Auto Show, reviving two once-familiar nameplates in a bid to build market share in what has become the world’s largest automotive market.

The Ford Escort and Buick Riviera are just concept vehicles for now, but both offer hints of what the two U.S. manufacturers may have in store for Chinese consumers.  Indeed, once little more than a backwater event, the Shanghai gathering is this year one of the world’s most significant car shows, with dozens of new vehicles making their global debut there.

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And for good reason – by at least one estimate, the Chinese automotive market could soon be larger than the U.S. and European markets combined. By 2022, forecast senior GM officials, sales in the People’s Republic could top 35 million annually. That’s more than double the peak hit in the American market nearly a decade ago.

No surprise, then, that Tim Lee, the president of GM’s International Operations, told reporters that, “No market is more critical than the China market for us.”


Ford Reduces Stake In Mazda, But Relationship Continues

Few changes in store, suggest officials.

by on Nov.19, 2010

Though they worked together on the underlying platform, Ford and Mazda have drifted apart since beginning work on the Fiesta and Mazda3 models.

Ford Motor Co. will sharply reduce its once commanding stake in Japanese automaker Mazda, reflecting the continuing shift in focus by the American automaker towards its core “Blue Oval” Ford brand.

Despite the cutback, which means Ford will no longer be Mazda’s single-largest shareholder, the two makers insist little will actually change in their decades-long relationship.

Ford will generate $370 million by reducing its stake in Mazda from the current 11% to just 3.5% in a deal completed today. ( had originally reported on the planned sale last month.)

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It’s a sharp shift in their long-standing ties, which date back to the 1970s, when Mazda began supplying Ford with transmissions.  By 1979, as the Japanese maker struggled to deal with ongoing financial problems, Ford expanded its stake to the point it became Mazda’s largest shareholder.  The stake eventually grew to 33.4% which, under Japanese law, put Ford into a position to name its own management team.