Ford has announced a new plan for growth in China that focuses on smart vehicles, electrification, expanded local production and also a leaner business structure.
By 2025, Ford intends to launch at least 15 all-new electrified vehicles in China (which yes, means hybrids, plug-in hybrids and all-electric offerings) under its Ford and Lincoln brands.
Eight all-new SUVs will be launched too, though we don't know how many of those will be of the plug-in variety (but at least 1 for sure...see below).
Revenues are expected to grow by 50% over 2017 results.
One of the new SUVs, scheduled for 2019, is to be a global all-electric, small SUV locally assembled. This is the same model, announced earlier this year, for the U.S. was originally to be manufactured at the company's Flat Rock plant, but Ford has now reportedly moved all EV production from that plant to Mexico, so it can focus on autonomous tech at home. Range of the new utility vehicle will be no less than 300 miles. (Hat tip to GeorgeS)
In addition to all those plans, Ford has kicked off its new Zotye-Ford JV, that will launch an all-new range of affordable all-electric vehicles, but in this case -for Chinese consumption only.
Bill Ford stated:
“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. 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.”
Even More Smart, Connected Vehicles: The company plans to offer more than 50 new Ford and Lincoln vehicles in China by 2025.
The expanded product portfolio will reflect an even stronger emphasis on SUVs – with eight all-new utilities, along with more electric vehicles.
The company will launch at least 15 new electrified vehicles from Ford and Lincoln. And the new Zotye-Ford joint venture will deliver a separate range of affordable all-electric under a new brand, pending regulatory approvals.
“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,” said Jason Luo, chairman and CEO, Ford China. “Each of them will be safe, efficient, fun to drive and backed by an ecosystem that makes charging, sharing and servicing easy.”
Plus, by the end of 2019, 100 percent of new Ford and Lincoln-badged vehicles in China will be connected through either embedded modems or plug-in devices. Company leaders also are working on broader infrastructure opportunities to improve future mobility experiences.
Ford is one of the founding members of the Board of Baidu’s Project Apollo, building on the agreement signed earlier this year. The Apollo Open Platform accelerates the development, testing and deployment of autonomous vehicles. Ford’s participation supports the company’s robotics and artificial intelligence research efforts and provides an opportunity to contribute to a platform that will be key to developing autonomous vehicles in China.
“We are responding to the rapid pace of change by delivering increased connectivity and working to improve and simplify mobility for everyone,” Hackett said. “This builds on our commitment to deliver smart vehicles for a smart world, helping people around the world move more safely, confidently and freely.”
Closer connections to Chinese customers: In 2019, the company starts producing five additional Ford and Lincoln models in China for Chinese customers, including a new Lincoln premium SUV, and the company’s first global fully electric small SUV.
Producing vehicles locally speeds time to market, while providing greater opportunities to fully leverage the local supply base. It also allows Ford to further tailor vehicles to more closely meet the needs of Chinese customers.
“Some of our most advanced manufacturing and innovation facilities are here in China,” said Peter Fleet, group vice president and president, Ford Asia Pacific. “Producing more vehicles for China locally allows us to improve the benefits for our customers, our partners and our bottom line.”
Ford last month opened the Nanjing Test Center, which furthers product development capability and innovation in China. The test center – which includes close to 80 different types of real road surface conditions, a three-kilometer test track and a sophisticated emissions testing facility, will allow Ford to speed development of new products, services and technologies to meet the unique driving requirements of Chinese customers.
The company also is committed to improving the ownership experience for customers with the launch of Quick Lane, its global fast, high-quality service provider.
The first two outlets open in Nanjing and Chongqing this month, offering routine vehicle maintenance such as oil and filter changes, light repair services including brake repair and tire replacements on all vehicle makes and models. Ford plans to open 100 new outlets next year.
Streamlined Business: Ford is strengthening ties with its joint venture partners Changan and Jiangling in 2018, establishing one distribution services division responsible for the marketing, sales and services associated with all Ford vehicles sold in China.
The new distribution services division will seek to offer a simplified, improved and consistent customer experience for all Ford customers in China.
Lincoln, which has become the fastest-growing luxury brand in China, remains a stand-alone consumer-facing brand and maintains its separate dealer network to offer the brand’s unique “Lincoln Way” one-size-fits-one customer experience.
“Now is the time to deepen the partnerships we have with Changan and Jiangling Group and present one Ford brand in China,” Fleet said. “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.
“All of the actions outlined today reflect an unprecedented commitment to focus on the needs of consumers in China through a more fit and streamlined Ford,” he added. “They are proof of our dedication to grow our business in China.”