U.S. automaker Ford Motor Company and China’s Zotye signed a definitive agreement to establish Zotye Ford Automobile Co., Ltd., a new 50-50 joint venture that will offer a range of stylish and affordable all-electric vehicles for consumers in China under a new indigenous brand.
The agreement was signed in Beijing yesterday by Peter Fleet, Ford group vice president and president, Ford Asia Pacific, and Ying Jianren, chairman of Tech-New Group Ltd. and board director of Zotye Auto.
Pending regulatory approval, the new JV will design, build, market and distribute all-electric passenger vehicles for China, the world’s leading electric vehicle market.
The establishment of the JV is a key step by Ford towards realizing its vision of a cleaner, more environmentally sustainable future. The new JV will leverage a combined investment of RMB5 billion (USD754 million).
The new JV builds upon Ford’s ambitious China electrification strategy. Ford announced earlier this year that at least 70% of Ford-branded vehicles sold in the country will offer electrified powertrain options by 2025.
Zotye Ford plans to build a dedicated product research and development center 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 designed to meet Chinese consumers’ aspirations for electric vehicles.
“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,” Fleet said. “We will be exploring innovative vehicle connectivity and mobility service solutions for a new generation of young city-dwelling Chinese customers.”
In addition to the new JV, Ford and Zotye will explore offering mobility services to consumers in China as local demand for such solutions continues to grow.
Through this new JV, Ford commits to actively support the advancement of a more environmentally sustainable auto industry in China through local research and development as well as domestic production of all-electric vehicles.
Zotye Auto is a pioneer in the Chinese all-electric vehicle segment. It 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, representing a growth of more than 14% year-over-year. The JV will benefit from Zotye’s expertise in designing and commercializing 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,” said Zotye’s Ying. “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. Ford will continue working closely with its JV partners to develop and manufacture New Energy Vehicles (NEV) to meet rising consumer demand in China during the impending electrification phase of the Chinese auto industry.