Ford has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Anhui Zotye Automobile Co, a local car making entity in China. Established in 2005 as a parts supplier, Zotye has bought production tooling and manufacturing rights for a number of phased out cars from big automobile manufacturers to produce cars for the Chinese market, mainly from Fiat. The big news is that Zotye has made a name in electric vehicles (EVs) in a short span and that has inspired Ford to move forward with a partnership as it looks to increase its footprint in China – especially with EVs.
“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,” said Peter Fleet, Ford group vice president and president, 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.”
The 50:50 venture would see development, production and retail of EVs under a homegrown brand. The brand’s name and the launch timing will be revealed after Chinese regulators greenlight the tie-up.
China is one of the fastest growing markets for electric vehicles, with battery electric car sales expected to climb to 4 million units by 2025. Zotye Auto has delivered 16,000 EVs in China in 2017, up 56 per cent from the same period a year earlier. Zoyte ranks third in the Chinese market for new-energy vehicles, trailing the likes of BYD.