Ford will pursue the production and sale of hybrid and electric cars in China, as the company builds more factories and expands its reach in the growing market. According to The Detroit News, Ford CEO Alan Mulally made the announcement during a television interview in China.
“As we move to more electrification, you’re going to see more hybrids, plug-in hybrids and all-electric [cars],” Mulally said.
While Ford has not specified a timeline or given details on the new electric cars, the goal is an important one. The Chinese government hopes to have one million electric vehicles on its roads by 2015, and many of Ford’s competitors are already investing in new EVs for the Chinese market. Crosstown rival General Motors recently announced plans to work with SAIC Motor Corp. to build electric vehicles in China.
The announcement came as Ford broke ground on a new transmission factory that is a joint-venture with Chinese company Changan Automobile Group. Ford reportedly is spending $1.6 billion to open four new factories in China; by 2015, the Blue Oval plans to sell 15 different models there in a bid to triple its current market share of 2.7 percent.
Ford’s sales in the Chinese market this year are reportedly up 11 percent compared to 2010, even though overall car sales there are predicted to slow this year as government tax breaks end and interest rates climb. The company reportedly expects the Chinese auto market to grow by about five percent this year.
Ford might also consider launching its luxury brand, Lincoln, in China, as J.D. Power analyses reportedly show that China’s demand for luxury cars will jump 35 percent this year. “We have a great luxury brand in Lincoln,” Mulally said. “There’s going to be tremendous pull in China to have access to these great vehicles.”
Source: The Detroit News