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Lincoln to build luxury SUVs in China for fast-growing Chinese market

Lincoln to build luxury SUVs in China for fast-growing Chinese market
Ford's luxury brand has announced plans to build Lincoln SUVs in China, for the growing Chinese market. Here, Lincoln shows off a concept version of its Continental luxury sedan. (Mark Lennihan / Associated Press)

Ford's luxury division Lincoln Motor Company will begin building upscale SUVs in China, after seeing sales in that country triple between 2015 and 2016.

The company, which claims to be China's fastest-growing luxury automobile brand, will build the vehicles in partnership with local manufacturer Changan Automobile Group at a facility in the city of Chongqing.

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Ford reportedly sold more than 1 million vehicles in China last year.

The as-yet unnamed vehicle will be an all-new SUV, built in China exclusively for that market, a Lincoln representative said, and it will go on sale in late 2019.

The company will also continue to export luxury vehicles to China, including its new Lincoln Continental luxury sedan.

One of China's so-called "big four" automakers, Changan already partners with Ford on passenger cars for the Chinese market.

The announcement comes on the heels of a very good year in China for Lincoln.

The company reported sales of 32,558 vehicles in China in 2016, three times more than it sold in 2015.

"The momentum is both gratifying and encouraging," Kumar Galhotra, president of the Lincoln Motor Co., said in January.

China has become a major market for U.S. and European automakers, particularly in the luxury segment.

Other companies have also seen significant recent growth. GM's Cadillac division sold just over 100,000 vehicles in China last year, a 45% increase over 2015, the company said.

Porsche, which sold 65,246 vehicles in China, reported 12% growth last year compared with the year before.

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