Ford cancels plans for Chinese Zotye joint venture
Ford is officially ending its plans for electric car joint ventures with Chinese carmaker Zotye. They claimed fundamental changes in Chinese industrial and government policies on EVs since the agreements were signed in 2017 and 2018, which has lead to Ford’s decision.
Ford did not explain which specific changes triggered the withdrawal. The American company only stated in the statement that it wanted to pursue a “more flexible business model in China”. Zotye did not respond to a request for comment to Reuters news agency.
“More flexible” here could possibly also mean “non-exclusive”: A few days ago, Ford announced that the Mustang Mach-E for the Chinese market would be produced by joint venture partner Changan. Tesla also became the first carmaker in China during that time to start producing electric cars without any joint venture partner.
In 2017, during a state visit to China by then US President Donald Trump, Ford and Zotye had announced their intention to invest around 750 million euros in a 50:-50 joint venture to build “small” electric cars. A year later, a memorandum of understanding was signed, according to which electric cars for ride-hailing fleets would also be built. Now, the joint venture was and will never actually come to be.