Ford has announced an aggressive growth plan for China as it seeks to expand its presence in the country. In addition to the automaker’s recently announced tie-up with Chinese automaker Zotye, Ford will introduce more than 50 new vehicles to the Chinese market by 2025. During this time, it aims to increase revenue in the country by 50 percent.
The main focus will revolve around SUVs and electrified vehicles. Starting in 2019, Ford will begin assembling five more vehicles for the Chinese domestic market in plants within China including a Lincoln model and the recently announced global market all-electric crossover. By the end of that same year, all Ford and Lincoln vehicles in China will be connected via a plug-in device or a modem embedded in the car. Research and development activity will also grow, and the automaker will continue to work closely with Baidu on an autonomous platform that will accelerate the rollout of self-driving cars.
As part of its growth plan, Ford will introduce eight more SUVs. Between Ford and Lincoln, there will be at least 15 electrified vehicles introduced. The Ford-Zotye joint venture will add a range of affordable electric vehicles once it gets regulatory approval.
Ford will produce its Chinese market vehicles locally to better cater to local needs. Last month, the automaker opened the Nanjing Test Center, which will be used to develop products for the Chinese market and research the differences in the driving requirements of Chinese customers.
“Some of our most advanced manufacturing and innovation facilities are here in China,” said Peter Fleet, Ford Asia Pacific group vice president. “Producing more vehicles for China locally allows us to improve the benefits for our customers, our partners and our bottom line.”
Partnerships with Changan and Jiangling will be strengthened in 2018 with Ford adding new simplified distribution services for China. Lincoln will continue to be sold separately from Ford to emphasize its position as a luxury brand and take advantage of its status as the fastest growing premium automaker in China.
“Now is the time to deepen the partnerships we have with Changan and Jiangling Group and present one Ford brand in China,” said Fleet. “The new distribution services division will enable us to offer an enhanced experience for our customers and more closely connect with our dealers and the community.” Fleet continued on by saying that Ford’s growth plan highlights the automaker’s commitment to the Chinese market and the automaker’s dedication to meeting the needs of Chinese consumers.