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Ford is Launching a New Mid-Size SUV in China

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【Summary】Ford Motor Company shared the first images this week of the new Territory, a mid-size SUV designed for China with an affordable price-tag and high-tech features. Ford is targeting new buyers in emerging cities with the new SUV.

Derrick Smith    Aug 10, 2018 5:34 PM PT
Ford is Launching a New Mid-Size SUV in China

Ford Motor Company shared the first images this week of the new Territory, a mid-size SUV designed specifically for China with an affordable price-tag and high-tech features. Ford is targeting new buyers in emerging cities with the new SUV.

Ford developed the Territory together with its joint venture partner in China, Jiangling Motors Corporation (JMC). JMC's insights into new Chinese customers' tastes helped Ford to understand what Chinese consumers want in a vehicle and Ford designed the vehicle specifically for the Chinese market.

"The Territory is a breakthrough for Ford in China in terms of our ability to successfully compete with Chinese automakers for millions of customers that we do not currently serve," said Peter Fleet, president, Asia Pacific and chairman & CEO, Ford China. "Territory is a key proof point for how we will grow in China. We brought Territory to market with speed, high quality and cost efficiency. It will be affordable for young families and new buyers across China, not just the coastal mega-cities. And the technology will delight customers."

JMC provided insights into Chinese customers' lifestyles and product preferences, while the Ford team leveraged its global expertise to design, engineer, and test Territory at Ford's testing centers in Nanjing, China and Melbourne, Australia. The all-new SUV will be manufactured at JMC's XiaoLan assembly plant, which meets Ford's global manufacturing standards.

Territory customers in China can choose between a fuel-efficient gasoline engine option, 48V mild hybrid with Miller-Cycle technology, or a plug-in hybrid powertrain verison when it goes on sale in early 2019.

It also will offer Ford's infotainment system with intuitive Mandarin voice-command function, and the Co-Pilot360 suite of driver assistance technologies, incorporating features such as Adaptive Cruise Control and FordPass Connect with embedded modem.

China remains the world's largest automotive market. However, according to Ford, the greatest growth in demand for automobiles will come not from traditional ‘Tier 1' cities such as Beijing and Shanghai, which have implemented license plate restrictions to manage traffic congestion, but rather from smaller but fast-growing cities in the interior of the country.

The number of registered passenger vehicles in Chinese cities with no license plate restrictions is expected to soar to about 23.7 million in 2020, up from 10.8 million in 2010, according to IHS Markit's latest China Provincial Forecast. Meanwhile, new vehicle registrations in restricted cities is expected to fall to 1.6 million in 2019, from a peak of 2.2 million in 2010.

For these buyers, Ford hopes its new midsize SUV Ford Territory will become a popular choice. According to McKinsey's China auto consumer survey 20172, the midsize SUV segment saw an annual growth rate of 38 percent in China between 2012 to 2016. Indigenous Chinese automakers in particular have capitalized on this trend.

For the first time, Chinese customers will be able to purchase a very competitive Ford in the entry-level, mid-size SUV segment at an affordable price.

"The new Ford Territory shows what can be achieved when two global companies collaborate closely, bringing their respective strengths to meet the needs of a broad spectrum of Chinese consumers," said Qiu Tiangao, chairman of JMC.

The Territory further expands the Ford SUV family lineup, which is composed of Ford EcoSport, Ford Kuga, Ford Edge, Ford Explorer and Ford Everest, to further meet the diversified needs of Chinese consumers.

In the Territory, Ford's design team delivers a fresh exterior appearance, instilling Ford design DNA that appeals to Chinese consumers. The front of the vehicle features the signature Ford mesh grille, flanked by LED lights. Outboard graphic features house the uniquely shaped LED daytime running lamp and turn signals.

The Territory has also been rigorously tested in its ride, handling and NVH (noise, vibration and harshness) levels at Ford's testing centers in Nanjing, China and Melbourne, Australia, to ensure it meets Ford's stringent engineering and quality standards. Ford says its engineers developed a tuned suspension for the Territory, which gives the SUV exceptional ride comfort and refinement.

The new Ford Territory is part of Ford's China 2025 plan to launch more than 50 new vehicles in the country by 2025. Ford has been struggling lately in China and the new Territory might boost the company's sales. Ford sales fell 6 percent last year while overall vehicle sales in China rose 3 percent. Ford's sales during the first two months of this year are down 23 percent.

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