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Ford, Changan agree to extend localization efforts

By Li Fusheng | China Daily | Updated: 2017-12-11 09:20
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Ford Motor Co will accelerate its localization efforts to boost its performance in the world's largest market, according to a deal it signed on Friday with China South Industries Group Corp, the parent company of its joint venture partner Changan Automobile Co.

Ford and Changan will continue to deepen their cooperation in product rollout at their joint venture Changan Ford, including the localized production of luxury vehicles under the Lincoln brand, said Ford in a news release.

"We are introducing more than 50 new vehicles to China by 2025, and plan to locally produce five more new products in China from 2019," said Peter Fleet, Ford's vice-president and president of its Asia Pacific operations.

"Accelerating localization of more products will bring increased benefits to consumers, partners and ourselves."

Changan Chairman Zhang Baolin said: "The introduction of more products for more segments will lay a solid foundation for our joint venture in China."

"The strategic framework agreement is echoed in the evolving trends of China's automotive industry, and also underlines the vision of both parties to grow our partnership in China."

Changan Ford will also integrate existing market, sales and aftersales service departments into a national distribution service division, which will be responsible for marketing, sales and aftersales services for all Ford-branded passenger vehicles sold and made in China.

This groundbreaking move will help Ford to build a unified image in China, respond faster to market changes and provide consumers with unified, convenient and responsive service.

Lincoln, meanwhile, will remain a stand-alone, consumer-facing brand and maintain its separate dealer network to offer the brand's unique Lincoln Way one-size-fits-one customer experience.

In addition, both parties agreed to strengthen exchanges and cooperation in such fields as new energy vehicles, artificial intelligence, resource sharing and automobile financing.

The deal came one day after Ford inked a deal with Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.

Under the three-year agreement, the two sides will explore opportunities in internet-connected cars, artificial intelligence and mobile services, as well as digital marketing.

Both sides will conduct a pilot study to explore new retail opportunities, or the seamless integration of online and offline shopping, at various stages of the automotive ownership cycle, from pre-sales, to test drives, to financial leasing options.

China is one of the largest markets for Ford, where it sold nearly 940,000 cars in the first 10 months of this year.

Its luxury arm, Lincoln, has been the fastest-growing premium brand in the country this year.

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