Ford Motor to invest $1.8bn in China; to roll out smart cars
With an objective of bagging a major chunk of market share in the world's biggest automobile market, the US automobile giant Ford Motor Corp has decided to invest Yuan 11.4billion ($1.8billion) in China. Ford will invest the amount in research and development (R&D) over next five years. Ford has been able to perform better in China market by eating into Japanese rivals' market share. Ford is planning to introduce new models in the China market soon. The new models include hybrid, plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles. Ford is also planning to roll out new generation smart cars shortly in China.
The Michigan-based Ford Motor Corp is the fifth major automobile players in Chinese market after General Motors, Volkswagen, Hyundai Motor and Nissan Motor Co. Ford Motor Corp is planning roll out C-Max Energi, a plug-in hybrid and Mondeo conventional hybrid in the Chinese market in 2016.
Mark Fields, Chief Executive, Ford Motor Corp, said: "By 2020, we will offer customers in China a range of hybrid, plug-in hybrid and full electric vehicles." There's growing demand for electric vehicles in China market.
As part of its strategy to improve market share in China, Ford is exploring smart cars. Ford forecasts that by rolling out the new generation of smart cars, it can improve its top line performance. Of late, Ford is also suffering from easing sales volume in China market owing to the general economy slowdown.
The investment earmarked for R&D in the Chinese market will focus on developing smart car features. Ford aims to customize smart cars suitable to Chinese drivers and road conditions. Meanwhile, Ford wants to equip smart-car systems in China. Ford will use the technology applications developed from China R&D in other markets as well.
The Chinese government is encouraging electric vehicles as part of its Green drive. However, the dragon country lacks the infrastructure to manufacture electric vehicles and this is slowing down the progress rate.
As part of R&D investment, Ford will focus on developing smart car technology applications for the Chinese market including autonomous driving, ridesharing and fuel-efficient vehicles. Ford has doubled its manufacturing capacity at its plant in China considering the huge market potential in the world's second-largest economy.
Ford Motor thinks that investment is being made will be a great opportunity to grow not only its core business but also enhance quality services to its customers. Ford is upbeat on further growth in cars and trucks sales. It's strengthening the after sales services to retain customers' confidence.