Ford Signs Joint Venture with Zotye Auto for Global Electrification Expansion

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Dearborn automaker Ford Motor Co. today announced the signing of a memorandum of understanding with Anhui Zotye Automobile Co., a major manufacturer of zero-emission all-electric vehicles in China.

The goal of the agreement is to explore the establishment of a joint venture for the development, production, marketing, and servicing of a new line of all-electric passenger vehicles in China.

Vehicles produced will be sold under an indigenous brand owned by the new joint venture and would aim to capture a sizeable share of China’s all-electric passenger vehicle market. The automaker says the deal is consistent with its vision for a more sustainable global auto industry, as well as its efforts to contribute to societal goals of improving air quality and addressing climate change.

“The potential to launch a new line of all-electric vehicles in the world’s largest auto market is an exciting next step for Ford in China,” says Peter Fleet, Ford’s group vice president and president for Ford Asia Pacific. “Electric vehicles will be a big part of the future in China and Ford wants to lead in delivering great solutions to customers.”

Ford expects the market for new energy vehicles, or NEVs, in China to grow six million units per year by 2025, of which approximately 4 million vehicles will be all-electric.

Zotye Auto is a pioneer in the Chinese all-electric vehicle segment and was one of the first automakers to produce all-electric passenger vehicles sold in the country. Zotye sold more than 16,000 all-electric vehicles through July this year, representing a growth of 56 percent year-over-year.

Additional details including brand, products, and production volume information will be announced at a later date, pending a final definitive agreement and regulatory approvals.

As part of its global electrification commitment, Ford has invested $4.5 billion to make electric vehicles that offer customers more capability, productivity, and performance. Ford plans to introduce 13 new electrified vehicles globally in the next five years, including an all-electric small SUV to be sold in Asia, North America, and Europe. Ford also recently announced its China electrification strategy and confirmed that 70 percent of all Ford vehicles sold in the Middle Kingdom will have electrified powertrain options by 2025.

The new 50/50 joint venture would be a major step forward in building on Ford’s electrification initiatives, the automaker says, and will significantly expand it’s footprint in China, along with the company’s joint ventures — Changan Ford and Jiangling Motors Corp.

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