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AUTO ROUNDUP: Ford to Invest Billions in Chinese Development

Oct. 12, 2015
Volkswagen recalls thousands of Chinese cars amid continuing scandal ... Ferrari seeks almost $10 billion in initial IPO.

SHANGHAI — Ford will invest nearly $2.0 billion in research and development in China, it said Monday, despite falling sales in the world’s biggest auto market.

The 11.4 billion yuan ($1.8 billion) investment, to be completed by 2020, will build up Ford’s R&D capability in the country, especially at an existing engineering center in the eastern city of Nanjing, the company said in a statement.

“With this investment in research and development, the next generation of Ford vehicles will be completely designed around our customers,” Ford president and CEO Mark Fields said.

Ford sold 700,196 vehicles in China during the first eight months of 2015, but that was down around 1% from the same period last year, amid an overall slowdown in the market due to weaker economic growth. In August alone, the carmaker reported sales of 79,608 vehicles in China, a 3% decrease compared to the same month in 2014.

VOLKSWAGEN: SHANGHAI — Volkswagen announced a recall Monday of nearly 2,000 vehicles in China — the world’s biggest auto market, where it is the top foreign brand — in a global scandal over emissions cheating. The Chinese government took aim at the firm, with the quality watchdog urging the company to address the problem as soon as possible.

The quality supervision agency said it was “highly concerned” about the matter and warned it could take further measures, according to a statement posted on its website on Monday, which gave no details. China’s environmental protection agency is also investigating whether VW'ss imported and locally-produced vehicles violate emissions standards, Bloomberg News reported.

VW delivered 3.67 million vehicles in China last year but the recall affects only diesel vehicles imported into the country: 1,946 Tiguan compact SUVs and four Passat B6 cars, the company said in a statement.

It also repeated earlier statements by its two main joint ventures in China that none of the vehicles they manufacture are affected.

FERRARI: NEW YORK — Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is planning a U.S. stock debut for Ferrari that values the luxury Italian sports carmaker at nearly $10 billion, according to a Friday filing with U.S. regulators.

Ferrari will make its first steps on Wall Street, expected in late October, after years of rumors. In its filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), FCA said it is offering to sell 17.2 million common shares of Ferrari, or about 9.0% of its capital. The estimated offering price of the shares was between $48 and $52. The initial public offering could raise up to $893.1 million, valuing the automaker at $9.92 billion.

Ferrari shares will be listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol RACE as it moves toward independence from FCA, the Netherlands-based automaker combining Fiat of Italy and Chrysler of the United States under the reins of Sergio Marchionne.

Ferrari produces only about 7,000 cars a year, with a base price that starts at $200,000. The company plans to boost production to 9,000. Last year, it sold 7,245 and had operating profit of 693 million euros ($787.2 million), more than 9% higher than in 2013.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2015

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