Ford Motor and a Chinese automaker confirmed on Tuesday that they were hoping for the cooperation between the two companies which will allow them to develop and manufacture electric cars that will be sold in China. This could turn into a partnership which would result in a change of strategy for both automakers as their common goal would be to create advanced vehicles.
The Chinese company we are speaking of is Anhui Zotye Automobile, and it is a pioneer in the Chinese all-electric car segment. Anhui Zotye was the first carmaker which assembled an all-electric passenger vehicle in the domestic market. It is also a leader in China’s all-electric small car segment. Interestingly enough, the official announcement of the partnership happened on the same day when Ford’s vice president of autonomous vehicles and electrification, Sherif Marakby, revealed US company’s idea to assemble and launch self-driving automobiles with the help of a strategic partner.
In a Medium post, he said: “We plan to develop and manufacture self-driving vehicles at scale, deployed in cooperation with multiple partners, and with a customer experience based on human-centered design principles.” Blue Oval officials believe that the rise in online shopping is going to increase demand for self-driving cars suited for package delivery.
Markaby added: “We are entering relationships with a deep understanding of a partner’s needs and desire for a vehicle that has the capability to fulfill many use cases and the durability to maximize operation time.”
Ford is slowly but certainly developing its strategy for electric vehicles and self-driving cars which are probably going to be a focus of Ford CEO Jim Hackett’s 100-day review of the automaker. Hackett, who was named the new CEO in May this year is soon expected to come out with company’s results and business plan.
“We expect Ford’s next strategy to be more open to partnerships, new structures and entities, and a far greater emphasis on all-electric powertrains,” Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas said in a report on Monday. According to Jonas, they need partnerships because the development of autonomous technology for cars is expensive. However, Ford is not the only one seeking for strategic and business partners – other carmakers need to do the same.
“We believe, more than any other attribute, Mr. Hackett was given the CEO role to connect Ford to the some of the biggest names in tech, to find common ground on how Ford can more efficiently allocate capital while focusing on areas where it can add the most value,” Jonas said.
Ford’s cooperation with Anhui Zotye is going to help produce more electric vehicles for China. What does that mean? Well, China passed the United States in 2016, and it has become the largest market for the EVs. What you need to know about Zotye Auto is that it’s a privately-owned carmaker with the headquarters in the city of Huangshan. The sales of the electric cars they produced increased by 56% in the first seven months of 2017 and reached a figure of 16,000 sold units.
“This presents us with an exciting opportunity to leverage each other’s strengths,” Zotye chairman Jin Zheyong said in a joint statement. Chinese planners who hope that electric vehicles are the future of transportation and a tremendous way to clean the large metropolis areas from smog are encouraging automakers to speed up the development. As for Ford, they declared that their goal was to offer the electric version of 70% of its models in the Chinese market by 2025.
Last year, the sales of the pure-electric and gasoline-electric hybrid models rose in China by 50% compared to 2015, and it reached 336,000 vehicles sold. Just for comparison, the US customers bought 159,620 such cars. Ford stated that China’s market for all-electric and hybrid models would grow to annual sales of 6 million by 2025. Volvo, GM, VW, and Nissan are the other players who plan to make electric vehicles in China.