Ford Motor Co has announced plans to invest 11.4 billion yuan ($1.8 billion) over the next five years to expand its research and development in China. The company also announced plans to introduce advanced new energy vehicles and develop a range of smart connectivity options.
From 2016, Ford stated it will increase its range of fuel efficient vehicles in China with two advanced new energy vehicles (NEVs), the Ford C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid electric vehicle and the Ford Mondeo hybrid electric vehicle.
“Introducing a range of advanced technologies from gas to hybrid to plug-in hybrids by 2020, alongside our growing EcoBoost lineup shows how we will deliver on our promise to provide customers in China with the power of choice,” stated John Lawler, Chairman and CEO of Ford Motor China. “This range is completely designed around our customers, giving them the fuel economy they need and the performance they want.”
In China there are nearly 600 million active smartphone users and to keep drivers connected Ford’s SYNC system offers an in-car connectivity with hands-free control of phones, entertainment, climate control and navigation. The company announced that there will be more than 1 million SYNC-equipped vehicles on the road in China by the end of 2015. This will be quickly followed with the 2016 introduction of SYNC 3.
“The next generation of Ford vehicles is being completely designed around our customers,” stated Lawler. “Ford is constantly going further to improve the innovative technologies that keep drivers safer and connected to their world.”
Ford has rapidly gained market share over the past few years and is the fifth biggest foreign automaker in China, after General Motors, Volkswagen, Hyundai Motor Co and Nissan Motor Co.