Ford: We’ll Build Electric Cars in China Soon

It’s official: Ford Motor Company has entered into a new joint venture that will build electric vehicles in — and for — China.

It’s the latest move in Ford CEO Jim Hackett’s effort to push the Blue Oval more quickly into the high-tech future. Here’s what we know.

Fleet and Ying are seated at a table in front of a red banner with the Zotye Auto and Ford logos.

A joint venture to build EVs in China

Here are the high points of the deal announced by Ford and its latest Chinese business partner:

  • Ford’s partner in the deal is the privately held Chinese automaker Anhui Zotye Automobile, known as Zotye Auto.
  • Ford and Zotye Auto will each own 50% of the new joint venture, which will be called Zotye Ford Automobile Co., Ltd. (“Zotye Ford” for short).
  • Pending regulatory approval (never a sure thing in China), Zotye Ford will develop and manufacture “a range of stylish and affordable electric vehicles for consumers in China.”
  • The partners have invested a total of 5 billion yuan (about $756 million) in the venture.
  • The vehicles built by Zotye Ford won’t be Fords (or Zotyes); they’ll be sold under a new Chinese brand.
  • Zotye Ford plans to build a dedicated research and development center, a new factory in China’s Zhejiang Province (near Shanghai, on China’s eastern coast), and its own sales and service network.

The deal isn’t a surprise; Ford and Zotye Auto said in August that they were exploring the possibility of a joint venture focused on electric vehicles. Ford’s Asia Pacific chief, Peter Fleet, said that Zotye Ford’s vehicles will be aimed at young urban buyers: “Subject to regulatory approval, Zotye Ford will introduce a new brand family of small all-electric vehicles. We will be exploring innovative vehicle connectivity and mobility service solutions for a new generation of young city-dwelling Chinese customers.”

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