Ford is poised to launch an all-new offshoot brand in China, in order to comply with state regulations and accelerate its growth in the region.
The American manufacturer will develop the as yet unnamed brand together with Chinese joint venture partners Mazda and domestic car maker Chang’an Motors. The cars, which will launch in the next three years will not carry any Ford badging.
Chinese government rules demand that joint venture companies must develop homegrown brands if they want to build new car plants in the country.
Ford has set a sales target of eight million cars by 2015, up from 5.3m in 2010. Between 60 and 70 per cent of that growth is forecast to come from the Asia-Pacific region and Africa. It sold 580,000 cars in China last year, compared to GM’s two million.
As a result, Ford plans to build four new car plants in China by 2015. This includes a facility for producing Lincoln badged cars; Ford’s luxury brand is struggling for sales in the US, but Chinese demand for luxury vehicles is seen as a potential way of rapidly growing the brand’s sales.
Honda, Nissan and Volkswagen have already created China-only brands with their joint venture partners.