What it means for Ford
It’s an interesting venture. The market for small affordable electric vehicles in China is still small in terms of total sales, but stricter regulations on internal-combustion engines make it likely that it will grow quite large in time. This new joint venture will give Ford a stake in that market, which if nothing else will help inform its efforts to develop a line of Ford-brand electric vehicles for global markets. It’s also good business: The Chinese government wants to see manufacturers building electric vehicles under Chinese brands; it’s likely that Ford is earning some useful brownie points here.
Between Zotye, which has already staked out a share of the market as it exists today, and Ford, a global automaker with a reputation (in China, at least) for building premium, high-quality vehicles, the joint venture seems to stand a good chance of success. But of course, it’s early days: If the market for these little vehicles grows significantly, other global automakers will enter the fray.