Ford is looking to make up lost ground in China.
The American carmaker said Wednesday it planned to launch more than 30 new Ford and Lincoln vehicles in China over the next three years as it tries to reverse a decline in sales in the world’s biggest auto market.
About one-third of them will be electric vehicles, Ford (F) said in a statement. Sales of electric cars in China are rising quickly, despite a slowdown in the overall auto market, on the back of government policies to clean up the country’s environment.
“China is leading the world with smart vehicles, and is a key part of Ford’s global vision for the future,” Ford CEO Jim Hackett said in a statement.
China is Ford’s second biggest market after the United States.
Wednesday’s announcement was part of a broader relaunch of the company’s strategy in China, which includes a greater focus on new technology and adapting its Ford and Lincoln brands to local needs.
China’s auto market has slumped
Ford has endured a torrid time in China, where its sales plunged by nearly 40% in 2018 compared to the previous year.
In October, the company re-jigged its operations in the country in an attempt to capture more market share, including appointing industry veteran Anning Chen to run its local operations.
“Ford is deeply committed to China, and with our new China leadership team and vision, we’re investing in the future,” Hackett added Wednesday.
Like most foreign carmakers, Ford makes most of its China sales through a joint venture with a local company.
Ford is also having to contend with a wider slowdown in the Chinese market, which for years has been a big source of growth for Western automakers.
The Chinese market has gotten a lot tougher over the last year or so, as the wider economy has lost momentum and a trade war with the United States has ramped up. Brands including GM (GM), VW and Jaguar Land Rover have all seen their Chinese sales fall.