Biz / Auto

Ford, China South Industries strengthen partnership

The new deal will speed up production, introduce new models and establish a joint national distribution and service network.

Ford Motor Company and China South Industries Group Co, the parent company of Changan Group, signed a strategic framework agreement on Friday to speed up local production and create a joint national network.

Under the deal, the two companies will accelerate the rollout of vehicles built by the Changan Ford joint venture, produce local Lincoln models and establish a national distribution and service network.

Ford and China South Industries also agreed to strengthen exchanges and cooperation in fields including new energy vehicles, intelligence, resource sharing and financing.

The partners will also boost Changan Ford's research and engineering work, introduce new products and upgrade existing products.

"The partnership is expected to help Ford accelerate localization of more products and bring increased benefits to consumers, partners and ourselves," Peter Fleet, president of Ford Asia Pacific, told reporters.

On Tuesday, Ford announced plans to locally produce five new models in China from 2019.

Ford's business in China relied on close ties and solid cooperation with its Chinese partners, Fleet said.

Zhang Baolin, deputy general manager of China South Industries and president of Changan Auto, said:

"The introduction of more products for more segments will lay a solid foundation for the joint venture in China."

In addition to the launch of more localized models, Ford and China South said another key point of the new deal is the national distribution and service network.

Under the agreement, Changan Ford's sales and after-sales service departments will be integrated and upgraded into a national distribution and service division, which will be responsible for marketing, sales and after-sales service for all Ford brand passenger vehicles in China.

"This groundbreaking move will help Ford unify their brand image in China, receive and respond to market changes with agility and speed while providing consumers with unified, convenient and responsive service," Ford said in a statement.

The  national distribution channel is also expected to increase efficiency, product availability and the profitability of Ford and Lincoln dealerships in China.

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