Looking to take advantage of the fastest growing market in the world for electric vehicles, Ford Motor Co. inked a development deal with Anhui Zotye Automobile Co. Ltd., a maker of zero-emission all-electric vehicles in China.
The two companies signed a memorandum of understanding “explore the creation of a joint venture” for the development, production, marketing and servicing of battery-electric passenger vehicles in China.
“The potential to launch a new line of all-electric vehicles in the world’s largest auto market is an exciting next step for Ford in China,” said Peter Fleet, Ford group vice president and president, Ford Asia Pacific, in a statement.
Ford expects the market for “new energy vehicles,” or NEVs, in China to grow to 6 million units per year by 2025, of which approximately 4 million vehicles will be all-electric, Ford officials noted.
(Automakers plead with China to delay EV mandates. For the story, Click Here.)
“Electric vehicles will be a big part of the future in China and Ford wants to lead in delivering great solutions to customers,” he added.
The push for EVs in China is part of a government mandate to help improve the country’s air quality, especially in its major cities.
Fleet said the new partnership is consistent with Ford’s vision for a more sustainable auto industry, as well as efforts to contribute to societal goals of improving air quality and addressing climate change. China is the fastest-growing market in the world for new energy vehicles.
Zotye Auto is a pioneer in the Chinese all-electric vehicle segment and was one of the first automakers to produce all-electric passenger vehicles in the country. It is the market leader in China’s all-electric small vehicle segment, selling more than 16,000 all-electric vehicles through July this year, representing a growth of 56% year-over-year.
Vehicles produced under the proposed joint venture would be sold under an indigenous brand owned by the new joint venture and would aim to capture a sizeable share of China’s all-electric passenger vehicle market, Fleet said.
(Click Here for the latest on Ford’s overall sales in China in 2017.)
Earlier this year, Ford outlined an ambitious China electrification strategy and confirmed that 70% of all Ford vehicles sold in China will have electrified powertrain options by 2025.
“The MoU between Zotye Auto and Ford opens the door for us to explore our cooperation in the development of clean energy vehicles,” said Jin Zheyong, chairman and president, Anhui Zotye Automobile Co., Ltd., based in Huangshan, Anhui province
“This presents us with an exciting opportunity to leverage each other’s strengths in achieving a win-win situation for both parties’ growth in the fast-evolving Chinese electric vehicle market,” he said.
As part of its global electrification commitment, Ford has invested $4.5 billion to make electric vehicles that offer customers more capability, productivity and performance.
Ford plans to introduce 13 new electrified vehicles globally in the next five years, including an all-electric small SUV to be sold in Asia, North America and Europe. The new 50/50 joint venture would be a major step forward in building on Ford’s electrification initiatives and will significantly expand Ford’s footprint in China, along with the company’s successful joint ventures, Changan Ford and Jiangling Motors Corp.
(To get the details on Ford’s plans to move Focus production to China, Click Here.)
Ford sold more than 84,000 Vehicles in China in July as Lincoln sales increase 68% year over year versus July 2016. But overall sales by Ford and its Chinese partners dropped by 7%. So far this year, Ford and its partners have sold almost 623,000 vehicles in China down about 7% from 2016.