Jim Hackett made his first bold move after getting on-board Ford as a CEO, announcing a $750 Million Factory in China to build electric vehicles.
The company is working with a new Chinese partner, Zotye, and together they will invest 5 billion RMB (about $756 million) for the new 50-50 jointly owned factory, which will produce a range of affordable EVs. These vehicles will be sold under a new local Chinese brand.
The name of this new China-only brand has not disclosed yet. This represents a big shift for Ford, which spent the past decade shedding most of its brands to put all its global marketing efforts behind its core Ford “Blue Oval”. It will be definitely an advantage for Ford in a rapidly developing market where domestic brands have been gaining ground.
For the last few years Ford spent billions in China reporting record sales there in 2014, 2015 and 2016. But it has been observed that its China sales are down 5 percent so far this year, despite growth for its Lincoln luxury marque.
This new electric car joint venture will be beneficial for Ford because it will enable the company to tap into a boom for such vehicles in the world’s largest auto market.
“Zotye Ford will introduce a new brand family of small all-electric vehicles,” Ford group vice president Peter Fleet explained in a statement.
He further added, “We will be exploring innovative vehicle connectivity and mobility service solutions for a new generation of young city-dwelling Chinese customers.”
It is not just about the cars, as Ford has expressed its desire to work with Zotye to explore new mobility services to consumers in China.