Published September 27, 2011
By Jeff Cobb
Ford Motor Co. is making strides toward possibly building electric vehicles with its joint venture partner in China.
At a recent Ford Chinese transmission assembly plant groundbreaking ceremony, Ford’s CEO Alan R. Mulally indicated the blue oval brand is now mulling its options.
“As we move to more electrification, you’re going to see more hybrids, plug-in hybrids and all-electric” cars, said Mulally, 66, in a Bloomberg Television interview on Sept. 24 in Chongqing, China.
If Ford does decide to collaborate with its Chinese government-controlled JV partner, it will be following in the footsteps of General Motors and Daimler AG, which have already committed to building Chinese-branded EVs for the Chinese and neighboring markets.
As further reported by the Truth About Cars, if Ford proceeds as GM did, it will also appear to have contradicted recent statements made to the Detroit News denying intentions to design and manufacture Chinese EVs.
In response to one of several inflammatory letters from Michigan Sen. Debbie Stabenow accusing China of stripping U.S. companies of their intellectual property, both Ford and GM said “they have no plans to build electric vehicles in China.”
Regardless what the Detroit News thought it heard, last week GM made headlines by announcing it would be diving in head first to a JV agreement with SAIC.
GM and SAIC will co-develop EV architecture, jointly administer and – naturally – share profits. Similarly, last May Daimler announced a JV deal to build EVs with BYD.
A GM of China spokesperson told us last week that no plans were being announced as to whether Chinese EVs would ever be imported to the U.S., and there are no indicators to believe at this point that they would, although of course, it is not out of the question.
As it is, this week eyes are on Ford following its chief executive’s none-too-subtle suggestion.
His words were backed up by Ford Spokesman Daniel Pierce, as reported by the New York Times.
“We have a fleet of electric demonstration vehicles in China, but have not announced any plans to sell or produce electric vehicles in China,” Pierce said. “If we decide to produce electric vehicles in China, we would then determine what technologies would be appropriate to share with our joint venture and also what terms would accompany such an arrangement.”
Presently, other electrified Ford models being sold in China include the Transit Connect, Edge, Focus, Fiesta and the Mondeo and S-Max.
WheelsBlog, Bloomberg, The Truth About Cars