Building on a decade of significant investments and growth, 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.
Executive chairman Bill Ford and CEO Jim Hackett shared the vision on December 5 in China in a meeting with 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.”
Hackett added, “Ford’s aspiration is to become the world’s most trusted mobility company, designing smart vehicles for a smart world. We are very excited to see this vision come to life in China.”
Targets 50% revenue growth by 2025
Ford plans to grow its China revenue by 50 percent by 2025 versus 2017 and is focusing its business expansion on three areas: even more smart, connected vehicles; closer connections to Chinese customers, and a streamlined business structure.
The company plans to offer more than 50 new Ford and Lincoln vehicles in China by 2025 including eight all-new SUVs and at least 15 new electrified vehicles from Ford and Lincoln. And the new Zotye-Ford joint venture will develop a new range of affordable EVs under a new brand.
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.
Closer connections to Chinese customers
In 2019, Ford plans to 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.
“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.
Ford is also 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.