The Detroit automaker said Tuesday that the 15 new electric vehicles, part of the 50 new vehicles it is introducing to China's massive market in the next 18 years, will be Lincolns and Fords. They still don't have an all-electric vehicle build from the ground up to be electric and they instead focus on hybrids and compliance EVs.
The move comes as Ford tries to become more competitive globally under new CEO Jim Hackett.
Ford is not the only auto manufacturer developing an aggressive strategy in China, as General Motors, Daimler, and Volkswagen are making similar investments. In October, the company announced plans to cut $14 billion in costs, drop some auto models and focus resources on trucks, SUVs and electric vehicles.
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The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette mockingly reported the story with the headline, " Daryl Metcalfe comes out as heterosexual ". He replied, "We are officially off the rails", as his fellow representatives joined in laughing.
Foreign and domestic automakers in China sold 24.4 million cars, minivans and sport-utility vehicles in China past year. GM sold 383,000 vehicles in October compared with Ford's 150,000.
In September, China's vice minister of industry and information technology said the government planned to ban the sales of fossil-fuel powered cars, without specifying a time frame. China is pushing automakers toward electric and hybrid petrol-electric vehicles, setting tough quotas for NEVs that come into play in 2019, and has signaled a longer-term shift away from traditional internal combustion engine cars.
Schuster says it's not too late for the company to increase sales in China, where growth is expected to outpace other developed nations. By 2019 it will be building five new Ford and Lincoln models including a premium Lincoln SUV and the aforementioned plug-in electric vehicle in China. It also will "contain structural cost in the region" this year. Ford said it will continue to work with China-based internet company Baidu Inc.to develop driverless cars.