Ford China today announced the completion of some very important steps to streamlining and improving sales in the country, which is the world’s largest auto market. These include the establishment of a single, nationwide distribution network and the hiring of two new executives in key roles.
Until now, purchasing a Ford in the Chinese market could be a complicated matter, as the automaker operates multiple joint ventures in the country, each of which had its own dealer network. That changes with the new Ford National Distribution Services Division, which enables Ford to sell its full lineup of vehicles at each and every dealership in the country, regardless of where it was built or which joint venture it originated from. The new distribution division will also allow Ford to become more fit by reducing duplication of efforts and driving greater efficiency, while improving the customer experience.
At the same time, Ford China is “reshaping [its] business… and adding new talent that will help us compete and win now and in the future in the world’s largest auto market,” Ford Motor Company President and CEO Jim Hackett said in a release. The automaker announced that it is appointing Henry Li to the role of Vice President of Marketing and Sales in Greater China, effective May 7th, where he’ll lead Ford’s transition to the National Distribution Services Division in China. Meanwhile, Richard Chen will be made Vice President of Strategy and Partnerships in Greater China effective May 16th, in which role he’ll be responsible for Ford’s overall business strategic planning in the Chinese market, and the management of external partnerships.
Henry Li, 50, comes from Beijing Mercedes-Benz Sales Service Company, where he helped make China the single largest global market for the German automaker. Largely thanks to his leadership, Mercedes experienced 59 consecutive months of year-over-year sales growth in China. Li has 26 years of experience in auto marketing and sales.
Richard Chen, 49, formerly served as Vice President, Managing Director, and Board Director for Yangfeng KSS Automotive Safety Systems – Key Safety Systems’ Chinese-market joint venture with Yangfeng Automotive Trim Systems Company. He was responsible for the company’s sales, technology center, and four manufacturing plants. Prior to working with Key Safety Systems’ Chinese business unit, he held multiple positions with Magna Powertrain Asia Pacific and Chrysler North America.
“The addition of Henry Li and Richard Chen, two proven executives with deep experience in China, will help us accelerate our China 2025 growth plan and connect with customers in new ways,” says Ford Asia Pacific President Peter Fleet. “Henry will play a significant role in launching a single distribution channel for all Ford products and services in China, delivering improvements for marketing effectiveness, as well as operational efficiencies, with considerable benefits to our brand, partners, dealers and customers. Richard will advance our ‘In China, For China’ vision as he leads overall business strategic planning and management of external partnerships.”