Ford Motor Company's passenger car joint venture in China, Changan Ford Mazda Automobile (CFMA), broke ground on Thursday on a $500 million engine factory in southwest China.

The $500 million investments will be more than double CFMA's annual engine production capacity in China to 750,000 units when it comes online in 2013. These engines will equip Ford-brand vehicles manufactured and sold in the country, the carmaker added.

Today's ground-breaking ceremony represents yet another milestone in Ford's accelerated expansion plan for China. This plan reinforces our commitment to aggressively grow the Ford brand in China and offer a full range of exciting, fuel-efficient vehicles to Chinese customers, said Joe Hinrichs, president of Ford Asia Pacific and Africa, and chairman and CEO of Ford China.

The new engine plant marks one of several new investments that Ford has made to support its aggressive expansion plan in China.  Last July, Ford's commercial vehicle partner in China, Jiangling Motors Corporation (JMC), broke ground for a new USD 300 million vehicle assembly plant in Nanchang. JMC produces the Ford Transit, a leader in China's light bus segment, the statement added.

In April, Ford announced that it will bring 15 new vehicles to China, double its number of dealerships to 680 and spend $1.6 billion to build four factories.