Ford buys into Middle Kingdom market with China EV subsidiary
As Intel expands its collaboration with Chinese car-maker Geely
US automotive giant Ford Motor Company has announced the launch of a subsidiary that will focus on developing smart electric vehicles and driver assist technology for the Chinese market.
Ford said in a statement on its WeChat account that the Ford Electric Mach Technologies company will have a "strong R&D capability," and will develop battery technology, battery packaging and integration, and motor and controller research. Ford said it will also work on developing smart cockpit technology, wireless connectivity, and over-the-air update technology for vehicles.
The Chinese subsidiary will also operate an Advanced Driving Assistance Center where Ford will work with Chinese companies to develop self-driving technology and help push the iconic carmaker's BlueCruise hands-free driving technology.
We asked Ford for more details on how its Chinese EV operations will influence its American vehicles or electrification efforts; we'll let you know if it decides to share any information.
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Ford is choosing to forgo dealerships for its China operation, opting instead to go with a direct-to-consumer sales model. According to its WeChat statement, Ford plans to create 106 sales outlets in 43 cities across the Middle Kingdom, with the first store opening in Shanghai by the end of 2022.
All part of Ford's 'China 2.0' plan
In its statement, Ford Electric Mach Technology said its creation accelerates the implementation of Ford's China 2.0 plan, which the company first mentioned in 2019 as its plan to change Ford's approach to doing business in China.
According to Ford's then-CEO and president Jim Hackett, the company sees China as a key part of its future plans. "Ford is deeply committed to China, and with our new China leadership team and vision, we're investing in the future," Hackett said in 2019.
Intel's car tech heads further inside China, too
Intel's Mobileye business on Monday announced it, too, is expanding its Chinese presence.
Mobileye specialises in computer vision and that tech has already found its way into a car from Chinese EV-maker Geely.
The companies now plan to collaborate on three more marques. Some of the vehicles will be exported globally.
Geely will also work on "new lidar-based features with Mobileye".
Ford's first all-electric vehicle exclusive to the Chinese market was the Mustang Mach-E SUV, launched in late 2021, which Chinese automotive news site Dongchedi reported has sold and performed poorly since launch.
Ford doesn't dispute its poor performance in the east-Asian nation, saying that its second-quarter sales in China were down 22 percent year-over-year. Ford blamed national pandemic lockdowns and other restrictions for the shortfall, but said that sales toward the end of the second quarter began picking up.
In total, Ford said it sold 120,000 vehicles across China in Q2 2022, with 50,000 of those coming in June alone. While overall sales were down, Ford said the Mach-E did get a boost, and was up 16 percent "following initial delivery to customers in December." ®