Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) said Wednesday its year-to-date wholesale sales rate in China is up 49 percent compared with the same four-month period last year, largely on the back of robust demand for the locally produced Focus sedan. Meanwhile, demand for the company’s Focus sedan more than doubled in that period.

On a wholesale basis, the company reported China sold 75,331 vehicles last month and 261,927 vehicles so far this year. Demand fueled the wholesale purchases of 126,853 Ford Focuses for the first third of the year, which is a whopping 114 percent higher than the same period last year. North America’s second-largest automaker has been playing catch-up in the world’s fastest-growing and largest auto market, where it trails other major players considerably.

Ford currently enjoys about a 3.6 percent market share in China, compared with leading rivals Volkswagen AG (FRA:VOW3), with 19.5 percent, and General Motors Company (NYSE:GM), with 10 percent, according to data from LMC Automotive. GM sold more than 800,000 units in the first three months of the year, showing just how far Ford has to go to meet its rivals.

Unit sales in China could top 20 million this year, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers, compared with the 15 million to 15.5 million sales in the world’s second-largest auto market, the United States.

Ford manufactures its branded vehicles in Chongqing, China, through Changan Ford Automobile, a joint partnership with Chang'an Automobile (Group) Co. Ltd., one of China’s so-called Big Four auto manufacturers. The new Ford Focus, built on the company’s global C-platform, is the first of an ongoing effort to release 15 Ford models into the Chinese market, including the new Mondeo and the Fiesta ST.