Ford shied away from partnerships under former CEO Mark Fields, but that’s all out the door under new CEO Jim Hackett. And he’s gotten to work fast since taking up the reins in May. In that time we’ve seen Ford link up with Mahindra in India, with Lyft in North America, and now with Zotye in China.
Zotye sells cars in China under an eponymous brand and is most (in)famous for the T700 Porsche Macan clone. With Ford, Zotye plans to introduce a range of affordable electric cars to be sold under a new brand.
Ford and Zotye on Wednesday established a 50:50 joint venture that will develop and manufacture electric cars for the brand. The two automakers are injecting $756 million to establish the joint venture.
The joint venture will handle production at a new plant to be constructed China’s Zhejiang Province, pending approval from regulators. It will also be responsible for designing, marketing and distributing the new brand's cars across China. It will also look to offer new mobility services as demand in this area grows.
For Ford, the move is in line with its vision for a more sustainable automotive industry, especially since China has embraced electrified vehicles, known locally as New Energy Vehicles, or NEVs for short. Sales of NEVs in China are expected to hit six million units by 2025. Two thirds of these are expected to be pure electrics and the rest mostly plug-in hybrids.
Ford is also investing heavily in electrified vehicles back in North America. Recall, the automaker intends to introduce 13 by 2020, including a Mustang Hybrid and an electric SUV with 300 miles of range.