Ford’s business in China is in the midst of some major strategic changes amid poor sales and hefty competition, with many of those changes relating to the automaker’s joint ventures in that country. That includes ramping up exports with JMC Ford, handing over total operations of its Ford Mustang Mach-E business to Changan Ford, and shifting its focus away from passenger cars and toward off-road-focused trucks and SUVs. However, these moves haven’t helped the automaker’s joint ventures in J.D. Power’s China Automotive Performance, Execution, and Layout (APEAL) Study, as Changan Ford ranked below the mass market average – which is precisely where JMC Ford fell, too.
After ranking a solid tenth in the 2023 J.D. Power China Tech Experience Index (TXI) Study, JMC Ford followed that up with a rough showing in the APEAL study by falling well below the mass market average of 733 with a score of 680 out of 1,000 possible points. This actually placed the joint venture near the bottom of the pack as well, with just seven brands recording a lower score. Meanwhile, 18 other brands ranked above the industry average, with Buick topping them all with a score of 755.
The J.D. Power APEAL Study examines owners’ assessments of their new-vehicle experience within the first two to six months of ownership – specifically, their emotional attachment to and level of excitement with their new vehicle. This year’s study found that while overall satisfaction increased over last year, the gap between mass market and premium brands continues to grow as well.
“With the growth of new energy vehicle (NEV) sales, the competition between internal combustion engine vehicles (ICE) and NEVs is becoming fiercer,” said Elvis Yang, general manager of auto product practice at J.D. Power China. “Makers of ICE vehicles need to pay more attention to vehicle design and experience to maintain their position. Meanwhile, second- and third-tier cities are the main areas to purchase ICE vehicles. Automakers need to accurately grasp the preferences of this consumer group, optimize configuration experience to increase product appeal.”