Ford launches R&D subsidiary in China
Ford has established an independent company in China called Ford Electric Mach Technologies (FMeT) for the development of electric vehicles. The manufacturer is also establishing an independent direct sales network in the country under the Ford Select brand.
Ford China announced the establishment of FMeT on its official WeChat account. It is to be an independent company ” intensively engaged in the development and operation of intelligent electric vehicles”, the announcement said. Among other things, FmeT plans to set up an electrification centre for battery and motor research and development, as well as centres for digitalisation and advanced driver assistance.
According to the portal CNEVPost, Ford’s main aim is to adapt its products to the needs of Chinese consumers. The background is said to be that the market launch of the first and only electric car in China so far, the Mustang Mach-E, has been weak in the U.S. American markets. The portal quotes the local car magazine Dongchedi, according to which only 2,098 units of the Mustang Mach-E have been sold since production began in China in October 2021.
In future, Ford wants to handle sales in China via an exclusive direct sales network for premium electric vehicles. This network, called Ford Select, currently comprises 106 sales outlets in 43 cities. It is also planned to open the first Ford Select flagship store in Shanghai at the end of this year.
This summer, Ford had already confirmed its intention to offer its electric cars only through direct sales at fixed prices in the future. At that time, it was still unclear whether the new distribution system would be extended to other markets outside North America.
In June, however, it was clear that direct sales would be limited to Ford Model e vehicles. This is the name of Ford’s electric car division that emerged from the spin-off in March 2022. Online sales are to be at a fixed price, the usual price negotiations and discounts at the dealer are to be omitted – as is the case with Tesla or Volvo’s direct sales of electric cars, which have also been shifted to the internet.