Ford plans electric push in China as it aims to fight back on future mobility

05 December 2017

5 December 2017

Ford is to launch 50 new vehicles into the Chinese market by 2025, including 15 electrified models, as the company pushes sales growth in what is becoming a key market for all vehicle manufacturers.

By 2019, China will have implemented a quota system for vehicle sales, where a percentage must be fully electric. Therefore, car makers are busy developing electric vehicles (EVs) either in-house or in partnership with Chinese manufacturers. Ford has taken this route, with a partnership with Anhui Zotye Automobile, a major manufacturer of zero-emission all-electric vehicles in the country.

The US carmaker is undergoing a broad review of its China operations, part of a strategic re-think under new chief executive Jim Hackett, which will likely see the company focus on electric commercial vans as well as electric cars.

′Between now and 2025, we will launch 50 new vehicles in China, and of those 50 new vehicles, 15 of them will be all-new electrified vehicles,’ said Peter Fleet, Ford’s head of Asia Pacific at an event in Shanghai, pointing to big growth in the ′utility’ segment.

Fleet also said Ford’s China revenue would grow by 50% over the same period.

′(China’s government) have a clear stated intent that they want to become winners in this technology of electrified vehicles. I buy that China is going to be very big on electrified vehicles and I expect Ford to play a big part in that,’ he added.

Ford has been lagging behind other manufacturers with its electric vehicle development. Its only offer to the market, an electrified version of the Focus, was pulled from European sales and never replaced. As German companies push forward their development with aggressive strategies for EV growth, Ford risks losing ground in all of its key markets.

Any push to build EVs for the Chinese market could benefit the US carmaker in Europe, with knowledge and expertise filtering back for a push on its strongest sales areas. The company has already said it would move money from traditional engine development to focus on electric.

At an event in New York during October, New chief executive Jim Hackett discussed the company’s ′strategy update’ with an eye on the future of mobility, including autonomous driving. Hackett was appointed in May 2017, taking over the role from Mark Fields, with a clear remit to take the company forward into the future.

Photograph courtesy of Ford