Ford unveils new SUV in China to boost up sales in 2019

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The vehicle targets China’s fast-growing second-tier cities.

US carmaker Ford Motor Co recently unveiled a new China sport utility vehicle (SUV) and disclosed its plan to come up with new models, which will help turn around dropping sales in the world’s top auto market from the start of the year 2019. The announcement comes days after the firm posted September 2018 sales in China that declined 43 percent over the same month last year.

Ford, fighting to recover from a severe sales slump in China, will start selling the entry-level SUV, dubbed as the ‘Territory’, early 2019. The car is jointly developed with Ford’s local partner Jiangling Motors Corp Ltd. The car based on a no-frills model from JMC, targets consumers in China’s second-tier cities, which have been a major engine of growth in the market over the last decade, according to Ford.

The SUV to come with some high-tech features

According to Ford, the SUV is one of the 50 new or redesigned vehicles, which it plans to launch in China starting 2018 and through 2025. It is custom-designed for Chinese customers and has some high-tech features popular with Chinese consumers. For example, it offers intuitive Mandarin voice recognition, which understands dozens of regional accents. The new engine would compete with models from local firms like Geely and Great Wall Motor.

Jeff Schuster, President of global forecasting for LMC automotive, stated, “Ford’s performance is certainly nothing shy of ugly in China.” He added, “While they are struggling as a group in China, the overall light vehicle market is now expected to post the first annual decline since we have been tracking vehicle demand in China (at least 20 years). Sluggish sales reflect weakening consumer confidence, amid the escalating US-China trade conflict, falling stock prices and the decelerating property market. With inventory rising, the Chinese Automobile Dealers Association is urging the government to take policy measures to boost demand, such as a tax cut.”

Ford to focus on the voice of customer

Peter Fleet, President, Asia Pacific and Chairman & CEO, Ford China, stated, “Our onslaught of new vehicles has begun,” he added, “We are taking the best of how we’ve brought Territory to market — deeply listening to customers in China and delivering what they want in style, comfort, safety and new in-vehicle infotainment options — and applying it across the business. Territory is just the beginning of more great things to come.”



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