Ford Motors, the second-biggest U.S. automaker, opened 40 dealerships in China on Thursday and plans to add another 26 by year's end.

The dealership opened today is in a bid to increase sales in the world's biggest auto market.  As part of its expansion plans in China, the carmaker said, Ford's goal is to have 100 new dealerships this year, mostly in secondary, inland cities, to reach a total of 340.

Like other major automakers, Ford is eying emerging markets to make up for the growth lost in the U.S. and other traditional strongholds. It expects 70 percent of growth in its sales to come from the Asia-Pacific and African regions over the next decade.

China's car market is the world's biggest and sales are growing fastest in the provincial cities as the benefits of the country's economic boom spread from its east coast to the interior where millions of new and potential car buyers live.

''When you think about China, it's the central, western and northern areas that will see the most aggressive growth,'' Joe Hinrichs, president of Ford, Asia Pacific and Africa, and chairman and CEO of Ford China said in a phone interview.

Ford is forecasting record sales in China this year, though it got a later start and has a smaller presence here than rival General Motors Co. Ford Motor China and its joint venture partners sold 49,681 vehicles in China last month, amounting to a 33 percent surge from October 2009.

In the first 10 months of the year, Ford sold 468,754 vehicles in China, accounting for a growth of 39 percent over the same period last year.

Ford India sold 9,026 units in October 2010 as against 3,458 units in October 2009, registering a two-fold increase.

Back in United States, the company sold 157,935 vehicles in October up 19% as against 132,483 units during the same period year ago.