Ford Motor Company and Zotye have signed a “definitive agreement” to establish Zotye Ford Automobile Co., Ltd., a new 50:50 joint venture that will offer a range of all-electric vehicles for consumers in China under a new brand. The communist party approved deal was signed in Beijing 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. In addition to the new JV, Ford and Zotye will explore offering mobility services to consumers in China as local demand for such continues to grow.
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 over 14 percent 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.
Pending regulatory approval – all but certain in the government directed economy – 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 combined investment of 5 billion RMB (~ $756 million).
Ford announced earlier this year that at least 70% of Ford-branded vehicles sold in the country will offer electrified powertrain options by 2025. Ford has not been successful with selling EVs in North America,
Zotye Ford plans to build a 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 in eastern China, with a rural interior and urban centers along the East China Sea. 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.”
“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 presence in China where it already operates vehicle joint ventures with Changan Ford Automobile Corporation, Ltd. and Jiangling Motors Corporation. Ford says it will continue working with its JV partners to develop and manufacture New Energy Vehicles to meet rising consumer demand in China during the impending electrification phase of the Chinese auto industry.