Ford Motor Company and Zotye Auto have announced plans to invest 5 billion RMB (approximately US $756 million) to manufacture a range of electric vehicles for the Chinese market. Following the signing of a 50:50 joint venture agreement, the two companies will establish Zotye Ford Automobile Co., Ltd.
Zotye Ford plans to build a dedicated product research and development centre as well as its own sales and services network. A new manufacturing plant for the JV will be constructed in Zhejiang Province. The all-electric vehicles produced by the JV will be sold under a new Chinese brand.
“We are delighted to have signed this joint venture agreement with Zotye to form our third joint venture automotive company in China. Subject to regulatory approval, Zotye Ford will introduce a new brand family of small all-electric vehicles,” stated Peter Fleet, Ford Group Vice President and President, Ford Asia Pacific. “We will be exploring innovative vehicle connectivity and mobility service solutions for a new generation of young city-dwelling Chinese customers.”
Zotye Auto is the market leader in China’s all-electric small vehicle segment and sold more than 22,500 all-electric vehicles year-to-date through October 2017, representing a growth of over 14% year-over-year. The JV is said to benefit from Zotye’s expertise in designing and commercialising EVs in China, and Ford’s global product development and technology capabilities.
“This is an important day for Zotye as we partner with Ford to help advance the growth of the Chinese auto industry,” stated Ying Jianren, Chairman of Tech-New Group Ltd. and Board Director of Zotye Auto. “We will work closely together to help meet Chinese consumers’ growing demand for electric vehicles.”
Upon its establishment, the new JV will expand Ford’s footprint in China. Ford already operates successful vehicle joint ventures with Changan Ford Automobile Corporation, Ltd. and Jiangling Motors Corporation.