When it comes to its newest business blueprint for China, Ford Motor Co. is going by the numbers, specifically Ford China 2.0.
That’s what the automaker dubbed its reworked business plan for the world’s largest auto market where it has been perpetually behind its competition. However, Ford is pinning its rebound on an influx of new product and an increased reliance on its Chinese partners.
Ford China 2.0 comprises five key plans and four centers of competence to accelerate the redesign of its business and sharpen its focus on the Chinese market.
The five key plans focus on: accelerating product development and delivery, developing smart technology, deepening strategic partnerships, driving innovation and developing local talent. The four centers of competence are dedicated to: product, design, innovation and new energy vehicles, the automaker said.
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“By injecting even more Chinese DNA and know-how into the business, and combining it with Ford’s global technology and resources, we will be able to respond faster to market changes and develop more efficient market strategies,” said Anning Chen, president and CEO of Ford China.
“We are confident that with this business transformation, we will grow in our understanding of Chinese consumers, enabling us to launch more competitive vehicles and services at ‘China speed.’”
In keeping with its heavily numeric theme, Ford China unveiled its new “330” product plan, which is to say it will introduce 30 new Ford and Lincoln vehicles in the three years. That cadence includes 10 new electric vehicles, which will be critical to Ford’s long-term success.
As part of the debut of the new product plan, Ford rolled out the all-new Escape. The updated-for-2020 small sport-utility is in the midst of a global launch. It was shown to the media at an event in metro Detroit last week. With Escape joining the Ford Territory and Ford Kuga, the company has China’s midsize SUV market segments covered, officials noted.
The company also introduced Sync+, its new in-vehicle infotainment system powered by Baidu’s artificial intelligence technology. Starting this year, most Chinese-built Ford and Lincoln vehicles will come equipped with Sync+, which has been developed specifically for Chinese drivers.
All of the new products and technology will be supplemented with C-V2X technology in 2021. It enhances the vehicle’s perception of its surroundings, improving road safety and traffic efficiency, and promoting the development of autonomous technology.
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Ford officials note that China is the first place the company is implementing the new technology, reflecting the level of importance it places on China and Chinese consumers. In fact, they have a name for that as well: Best of Ford, Best of China.
The company is looking to better integrate its domestic partners, Changan Automobile and Jiangling Motors Corp. Group, into all areas of Ford China. As a result, Changan Ford will design and develop the next-generation Ford Escort, while Ford and Jiangling are jointly developing the Ford Territory BEV – Ford’s first BEV in China – which will be launched later this year.
Ford is also looking to draw more local talent into the company as well, which will be critical as Ford expands its research and development facilities in China, including a China Innovation Center and a China Design Center. The China Innovation Center will focus on advanced mobility and technological innovations, accelerating the realization of Ford’s vision of “Smart Vehicles for a Smart World.”
The China Design Center combines local talent with global resources, enabling Chinese design aesthetics and features and Ford DNA to come together to provide Chinese drivers with an experience and vehicle that is distinctly Chinese.
Change isn’t limited to Ford brand alone as Lincoln is going to get a boost from the new structure as well. The luxury brand is reinforcing their “China First, Customer First” strategy, which is designed to make the brand a force in the segment by meeting the needs of consumers quickly.
In 2018, Lincoln positioned itself globally as providing “Quiet Flight”, reflecting special aspects of the Chinese culture, and channeling Lincoln’s determination to provide Chinese consumers with an extraordinary experience.
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This year, Lincoln will conduct comprehensive marketing for this brand positioning, while also upgrading the “Lincoln Way,” showcasing customer service that features technological innovation, modern luxury and human care.