Ford Motor Company and Zotye have signed an agreement to set up 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 brand. The new JV, called Zotye Ford Automobile Co, will leverage a combined investment of 5 billion RMB (approximately US $756 million).
The agreement 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. The new JV will design, build, market and distribute all-electric passenger vehicles for China, the world’s leading electric vehicle market.
The new venture builds upon Ford’s ambitious China electrification strategy. The American manufacturer announced earlier this year that at least 70 percent of Ford-branded vehicles sold in the country will offer electrified powertrain options by 2025.
Zotye Ford also plans to build a dedicated product research and development centre as well as its own sales and services network. A new manufacturing plant for the JV will be constructed in the 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 this new venture, Ford and Zotye will also explore offering mobility services to consumers in China as the local demand for such solutions is on the rise.
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 commercialising EVs in China, and Ford’s global product development and technology capabilities.
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 and Jiangling Motors Corporation.