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Ford expands on China strategy

Ford outlines the next phase of its China expansion strategy. Source: Ford

Ford plans to grow revenue in China by 50% by 2025, and will offer “at least 15” new electrified models in the country

Speaking in Shanghai this week, Ford executive chairman Bill Ford and CEO Jim Hackett outlined the US automaker’s plans in China over the next few years. The announcements were made as the executives travelled to the country to speak with dealers, employees and government officials.

“China is not only the largest car market in the world, it’s also at the heart of electric vehicle and SUV growth and the mobility movement,” said Bill Ford. “The progress we have achieved in China is just the start. We now have a chance to expand our presence in China and deliver even more for customers, our partners and society.”

Ford’s headline goal is to grow its Chinese revenue by 50% between now and 2025. That will be done through a focus on SUVs, “electric and connected vehicles” and a “streamlined business structure” the company stated.

As mentioned, EVs will form a key part of that strategy; of the more than 50 new Ford and Lincoln vehicles to be offered in in China by 2025, “at least 15” will be electrified, Ford confirmed.

Also slated was a new “premium” Lincoln SUV and the company’s long-promised (and first) fully electric small SUV, which will be available globally.

Bill Ford, Executive Chairman, Ford Motor Company.
Bill Ford, Executive Chairman, Ford Motor Company.

 

As to what extent those vehicles will be electrified is unclear, but the company’s recent 50:50 joint venture (JV) with Zotye will result in new pure EVs produced under the Zotye Ford Automobile badge. Last month the two pledged to invest in the region of 5 billion yuan (around US$756 million) in the new venture, which will see it design, build, market and distribute all-electric passenger EVs, through the construction of a dedicated research and development centre and a new manufacturing plant in Zhejiang Province.

“From luxury Lincolns, to Ford cars and SUVs, to an all-new electric vehicle brand, we will meet the growing desire and need in China for great new energy vehicles,” remarked chairman and CEO of Ford China, Jason Luo.

By the end of 2019, all new Ford and Lincoln-badged vehicles in China will also be connected through either embedded modems or plug-in devices.

It was also keen to stress its investment in Chinese facilities. “Some of our most advanced manufacturing and innovation facilities are here in China,” said group VP and Ford Asia Pacific president Peter Fleet. “Producing more vehicles for China locally allows us to improve the benefits for our customers, our partners and our bottom line.”

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It’s encouraging to see Ford maintain its momentum on EVs, following years of ambivalence. The decision by Hackett to open an electric R&D division dubbed “Team Edison” in particular has at least shown a willingness to explore innovation, even if it comes as rivals already have competitive models on the road.

However, China’s aggressive policy on decarbonisation and automotive electrification leaves no room for debate – and Ford will certainly need its 15 electric models at the very least if it is to succeed.

 

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