Automaker Ford said Thursday that it plans to build a $760-million assembly plant in the eastern Chinese city of Hangzhou as part of expansion plans in the country.

The new plant, which will be opened in 2015, will increase Ford's total Chinese production to 1.2 million passenger cars, double the current production capacity.

We are maintaining capacity size to demand, and we know that our market in China is growing enormously, so it gives more capacity in one of the most important markets in the world, John Fleming, Ford Executive Vice President for Global Manufacturing and Labor Affairs, said.

The investment in Hangzhou brings Ford's total China investment to $4.9 billion. The Chinese auto market remains one of the most vibrant in the world, Dave Schoch, chairman and CEO of Ford China, said.

This expansion will allow Ford to deliver on our aggressive plan to bring 15 new vehicles and 20 new power trains to China by 2015, giving Chinese consumers more choice in Ford's next-generation of high quality, fuel efficient, fun-to-drive vehicles. This latest plant expansion again highlights that Ford is ready to go further for its customers in China, he added.

Earlier this year, Ford opened a factory in Chongqing in southwestern China for building Focus compact car.

Earlier this month, Ford said it would invest additional $600 million to include a new assembly line, body shop and paint shop at its Chongqing site. This will expand the production capacity in Chongqing by 350,000 vehicles, bringing total capacity to 950,000 vehicles annually.

These are incredibly exciting times for Ford in Asia, said Joe Hinrichs, president of Ford Asia Pacific and Africa, in a prepared statement. So far, Ford's investments in China and across Asia represent its largest and most rapid global expansion in fifty years, he added.

Ford is attempting to get closer to its competitors like General Motors and Germany's Volkswagen which have been in China longer and command a bigger share of sales. While GM and VW each sold over two million vehicles in China last year, Ford sold only 300,000 units.