Ford ramps up China production
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Ford boosts SUV and EV production in China
Ford has outlined the next phase of its China expansion strategy, focused on SUVs, electric and connected vehicles, a streamlined business structure and closer connections to Chinese customers.
The Executive Chairman Bill Ford and CEO Jim Hackett revealed the plans while in China this week to meet employees, customers, dealers 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 executives outlining the company's China strategy this week: (left to right): Jason Luo, Chairman and CEO, Ford China, Jim Hackett, CEO, Ford Motor Company, Bill Ford, Executive Chairman, Ford Motor Company, Peter Fleet, Group Vice President and President, Ford Asia Pacific. Picture/Supplied.
To enable future growth in China, Ford will contain structural cost in the region throughout 2018, aiming to generate greater efficiencies, become more operationally fit and deliver additional value to shareholders.
Ford planned to increase its revenue from China by 50 per cent by 2025, and was focussed on delivering more smart, connected vehicles, closer connection to Chinese customers and a streamlined business structure.
More Smart, Connected Vehicles
The company plans to offer more than 50 new Ford and Lincoln vehicles in China by 2025.
The expansion would reflect a stronger emphasis on SUVs, with eight new utilities, and more electric vehicles.
The company would launch at least 15 new electrified vehicles from Ford and Lincoln. And a 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.”
By the end of 2019, all new Ford and Lincoln-badged vehicles in China would be connected through either embedded modems or plug-in devices.
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 to Chinese customers
In 2019, the company would start 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 would increase product development capability and innovation in China.
The test center – which included close to 80 different types of real road surface conditions, a three-kilometre test track and a sophisticated emissions testing facility, would help Ford speed-up development of new products, services and technologies to meet the driving requirements of Chinese customers.