Ford inks $765 million deal to build electric vehicles in China

How China plans to beat the U.S. at technology

Ian Berry CNNMoney Shutterstock

Companies have agreed to a 50-50 joint venture to develop, build, and sell affordable electric cars. Together, they will create a brand new line of electric vehicles (EV) specifically for Chinese citizens.

Once the Chinese government approves the deal, the enterprise will build a manufacturing facility in the Zhejiang province to produce EVs under its new brand, Zotye Ford.

The deal is pending regulatory approval. Being able to point to local R&D and domestic production of these vehicles is sure be a mark in the plus column for the Zotye Ford joint venture. The new partnership forms a company called Zotye Ford Automobile Co.

These types of partnerships are part-and-parcel for foreign companies looking to do business in China. Ford better keep an eye on its new friend.

A Zotye statement said the joint venture is aiming for a 10 percent share of China's burgeoning electric vehicle market.

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Ford had pledged in the past that it needs at least 70 percent of its Chinese sales to be electrified by 2025, and this puts Ford on the right path to achieve that goal.

China will also impose in 2019 a quota requiring automakers to produce a minimum number of new-energy vehicles.

Ford Motor Company said on Thursday that it would export cars and components worth $10 billion to China over the next three years, a day after the United States carmaker inked a deal to produce electric cars in the world's largest vehicle market. It sold more than 22,500 all-electric vehicles in the first 10 months this year, up 14 percent year-on-year.

Peter Fleet, Ford's Asia-Pacific president, will be meeting with President Donald Trump and China's Xi Jinping later this week to discuss the deal. Last year, the Blue Oval sold well over a million vehicles in China.

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