Ford Motor Co will begin producing its upscale Lincoln brand in China by late 2019 after sales almost tripled last year, joining the ranks of automakers localizing production to avoid import taxes in the world's largest auto market.
The automaker will build an all-new SUV model with joint venture partner Changan Automobile Group in Chongqing, according to an emailed statement.
Ford will continue to import Lincoln vehicles from North America, the company said.
Manufacturing in China will allow Ford to avoid paying 25 percent in import taxes, making the locally produced Lincoln SUV more competitive against German luxury brands like Audi and BMW.
"The Lincoln product and ownership in China are resonating with Chinese customers even beyond our expectations," said Kumar Galhotra, president of Lincoln. "We are now taking Lincoln to the next level by building a new SUV in China to join a dynamic lineup of imported cars and SUVs."
Ford produces the Lincoln in China about three years after introducing the brand in the country. By choosing a sport utility vehicle as its first locally produced model, Lincoln is banking on China's love affair with spacious vehicles.