Ford signs $756M deal with Chinese company for electric car plant

Ford and Anhui Zotye Automobile announced a partnership Wednesday to build an all-electric vehicle plant in China. File Photo by Brian Kersey

Nov. 8 (UPI) — Ford Motor Co. and China’s Anhui Zotye Automobile will spend $756 million to build all-electric passenger vehicles in the Asian nation under a new brand.

The two companies will equally own the new venture — called Zotye Ford Automobile Co. Ltd. — which is subject to regulatory approval in both nations, Ford said in a statement.

Zotye Ford plans to build a factory in Zhejiang Province, south of Shanghai, which will include a product research and development center and a sales and services network, Ford said.

By 2025, the U.S. automaker said it envisions 70 percent of all its vehicles sold in China will have electric powertrain options. Ford already has joint ventures in China with Chongqing Changan Automobile and Jiangling Motors.

Last month, Ford said it’s sold nearly 833,000 vehicles in China so far this year — a 5 percent decrease over the same period in 2016.

“Zotye Ford will introduce a new brand family of small all-electric vehicles,” said Peter Fleet, Ford Asia Pacific‘s president. “We will be exploring innovative vehicle connectivity and mobility service solutions for a new generation of young city-dwelling Chinese customers.”

China is the world’s leading electric vehicle market.

Zotye Auto, which is No. 1 in China’s electric small vehicle segment, has sold more than 22,500 all-electric vehicles through September — 14 percent more over last year.

Zotye’s electric cars include the the two-seat E200.

Fleet said he plans to meet with President Donald Trump and China’s Xi Jinping on Thursday.

Ford is planning $10 billion in exports from the United States to China in the next three years, including Ford-brand and Lincoln-brand cars and components.

Tesla, Daimler AG and General Motors have already announced plans for making electric vehicles in China.

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