Ford says it plans to locally assemble five more vehicles in China for Chinese customers starting in 2019, including a Lincoln premium SUV and the company’s first global all-electric small SUV, as well as rapidly increasing engineering and R&D capability in China to support the aggressive growth plan. “China is not only the largest car market in the world, it’s also at the heart of electric vehicle and SUV growth and the mobility movement,” said Bill Ford, Executive Chairman, Ford. “The progress we have achieved in China is just the start. We now have a chance to expand our presence in China and deliver even more for customers, our partners and society.”

To enable future growth in China, Ford says it will contain structural cost in the region throughout 2018, aiming to generate greater efficiencies, become more operationally fit and deliver additional value to shareholders. The U.S. carmaker plans to grow its China revenue by 50% by 2025 versus 2017 and is focussing its business expansion on three areas: even more smart, connected vehicles; closer connections to Chinese customers, and a streamlined business structure. 

The company is to launch at least 15 new electrified vehicles from Ford and Lincoln. Also, the new Zotye-Ford joint venture is to deliver a separate range of affordable all-electric under a new brand, pending regulatory approvals. “From luxury Lincolns, to Ford cars and SUVs, to an all-new electric vehicle brand, we will meet the growing desire and need in China for great new energy vehicles,” said Jason Luo, Chairman and CEO, Ford China. “Each of them will be safe, efficient, fun to drive and backed by an ecosystem that makes charging, sharing and servicing easy.”

The Lincoln is said to have become the fastest-growing luxury brand in China, and remains a stand-alone consumer-facing brand and maintains its separate dealer network to offer the brand’s unique “Lincoln Way” one-size-fits-one customer experience.

Last month, Ford opened the Nanjing Test Centre, which furthers product development capability and innovation in China. The carmaker also said it is shifting a planned production for an electric-powered SUV from Michigan to Mexico, where labour costs are lower. However, Ford is to boost its investment in Michigan by US$200 million and to add another 150 jobs to the Michigan plant as part of the shift.