Ford China and Changan Automobile have a joint venture for Ford cars in China that has been under pressure with the vehicles not selling well inside the country. The joint venture was fined $23.6 million in June for setting minimum prices that cars could sell for. Ford China has also been trying to unify its sales channels within the country.
Ford China and Changan Automobile have now launched a new R&D center for the passenger car joint venture in Chongqing in southwest China. The new R&D center is part of the plan to accelerate growth at Changan Ford. Ford China’s new R&D center opened last week and will allow the joint venture to more tightly integrate Ford product design DNA and the preferences of Chinese consumers into vehicle designs.
Ford China notes that the R&D center will build vehicle prototypes and test gasoline and electrified vehicles for emissions purposes, vibration and harshness, and dynamic performance and functionality. The Changan Ford joint venture produces and markets sedans and crossovers under the Ford name. The joint venture will start to build Lincoln vehicles in China later this year.
Sales at the joint venture have been on a steady decline due to a lack of new and redesigned products. Ford has vowed to change that sales decline by building and designing cars in China for Chinese buyers. Changan Ford sales have fallen 61 percent in the first eight months of the year to 108,001 units.
Another joint venture in China called Jiangling Motors produces the Ford-badged Everest SUV, Tourneo, Transit van, and Territory compact crossover. Through August sales at both of the joint ventures have declined by 47 percent combined compared to the same period of last year to 163,629 units. Ford plans to roll out more than 30 new and upgraded vehicles in China over the next three years.
Source: Automotive News