Ford Motor and its partly-owned Jiangling Motors Corp broke ground on Sunday on a $300 million vehicle plant in central China as the partners speed expansion in the world's largest auto market.


A Ford logo at a dealership in Manassas, Virginia - Larry Downing/Reuters

The facility, capable of producing up to 300,000 units annually, will start operation at the end of 2012, the U.S. automaker said in a statement.

Jiangling, 30 percent controlled by Ford, currently operates two plants, with combined capacity of 210,000 units, making JMC and Ford's Transit models.

Models carrying Ford and JMC nameplates will be made at the new facility, it said.

(Reporting by Fang Yan and Jacqueline Wong; Editing by Ken Wills)