Sales of affiliated brands, including cars made by Mazda Motor Corp. had not been finalized but Ford said in a statement that its overall affiliated brands sales had surpassed an estimated 220,000 units last year.
The announcement came after rival General Motors Corp. (GM) earlier in the month posted a 35 percent rise in 2005 China sales to 665,390 units, unseating Volkswagen A.G. as the top foreign seller in the country for the first time.
Ford's main Chinese car venture, with Changan Automotive Group, registered record sales of 61,013 units, up 41 percent.
"We're quite confident that Ford Motor Company as a whole will again see a significant growth in total sales volume in China in 2006, reflecting our strong products, expanded dealer network and strong support by Ford Automotive Financing China," Mei Wei Cheng, chief executive of Ford Motor China Ltd., said in the statement.
Car sales in China by all manufacturers last year jumped 21 percent to nearly 4 million units, bouncing back from a relatively lackluster rise of 15 percent in 2004 thanks for demand for cheaper models with lower emissions. Sales almost doubled in 2003.
Sales have slowed since 2003 partly because of Beijing's tightening of easy auto credit to help cool an overheating Chinese economy.
Analysts expect sales to grow some 20 percent this year on continued strong demand for cheaper models.