Ford Unveils New China Investment, Marketing Strategy
U.S. auto giant Ford Motor Co. will invest $1.8 billion by 2020 to develop technologies aimed at attracting Chinese car buyers and “innovations that will reshape how consumers in China and around the world move on an increasingly urbanized and congested planet in the next five years.”
One of its first moves will be to expand the scope of the work at its research and development facility in Nanjing to include “work on autonomous driving, smartphone connectivity, more efficient powertrains and other technologies,” the company said.
A new vehicle test center featuring a full test track equipped with a constant-speed oval, special surfaces, steep grades and a precision steering road will also be built adjacent to the R&D facility, one of eight the auto maker operates worldwide.
Expansion of the Nanjing facility “will allow us to continue innovating in China for China, and ensure that China is a center for innovation globally,” said Ford President and CEO Mark Fields. “As we move into the next five years, we will continue drawing on our heritage of innovation, to deliver accessible innovation to our customers and once again change the way the world moves.”
Ford is predicting that that there will be more than 1 million vehicles equipped with SYNC – an in-car free connectivity system offering hands-free control of phones, entertainment, climate control and navigation – by the end of this year.
The company has said it hopes to introduce the Chinese auto market to a newer, more advanced version, SYNC 3, sometime in 2016.
In addition, next year, Ford said it will start selling two of its newest fuel-efficient vehicles in China – the C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid electric vehicle and the Ford Mondeo hybrid electric vehicle.
“Leveraging Ford’s global experience and expertise in electric vehicle development, the two vehicles will help to reduce consumers’ fuel bills while reducing emissions in China’s crowded cities,” the company said.