Automaker Ford will team up with local partner Anhui Zotye Automobile to create a new joint venture in China aimed specifically at producing electric cars. The deal will see Ford and its new partner sell the vehicle sunder a local brand, rather than with its “Ford” name, and ultimately its aim is to produce even more electric vehicles for a market where there is strong incentive to bring EVs to consumers.
This is the third joint venture Ford has set up with local Chinese automakers. It’s standard practice for foreign car companies to partner with local Chinese vehicle producers, as a way to avoid having to pay very high import taxes on vehicles made by exclusively foreign-controlled concerns.
Ford has two JVs set up with other automakers including Changan Automobile and Jiangling Motors, and normally that’s the upper limit for joint ventures allowed by Chinese industry regulators. Recently, however, Beijing added an allotment for a third joint deal, provided its focus is specifically electric vehicle manufacture.
China is doing a lot to boost electric car adoption in the country, including adjusting the rules for automakers in terms of how much of their total output must be EVs. Zotye, Ford’s new partner, is an electric car specialist, with a total of 16,000 EV sales so far in 2017. Overall, Ford is aiming to make sure that 70 percent of the cars its offers in China are electric vehicles by 2025.
Ford’s not alone in building new JVs in China focused specifically on electric: Volkswagen announced plans to create its own third venture with a Chinese partner earlier this year, with production to begin in 2018.