A Plan for Ford of China
Ford of China is behind. Even with increasing sales, it is not outpacing the industry to an extent that it could catch up soon. GM, for instance, nearly doubles Ford’s quarterly sales for the country in one month alone. This is a result of not foreseeing the new market years ago and not investing fast enough once they did. This problem needs to be fixed before it is too late. These are the steps that Ford needs to take to outpace the market.
1. Import More
This is a very small part of the plan for importing vehicles into China is hard to say the least. Importing the Edge, as Ford has announced, is a great start but more needs to be done. The Flex and Taurus are two prime examples. The Flex needs to be imported to compete against the already launched Buick Enclave. This would provide a further volume boost for the plant and allow more money to be invested in the next Flex. Second is the Taurus. Now you ask, why would Ford need to import the Taurus if the Mondeo LWB is already sold there? It’s the same reason why BMW sells a LWB 5-Series next to their 7-Series…the class and from that, the profits. Chicago could also use a shot in the arm volume wise.
2. Increase the Model Range Built in China
The Edge will be introduced next year into the market to boost their current range which includes the Chinese made Fiesta, Focus, Mondeo, S-Max, Transit, and Transit Classic. Simply looking at that list clearly shows that there are deep holes in the lineup. Now any plan to increase the models built in China has to be done in two separate routes for Ford has two joint ventures in the country, one with Chang’an (for the cars) and the other with Jiangling (for the trucks). With Chang’an, Ford should start building the Kuga, C-Max, the upcoming B-Max, and the next generation EcoSport. They also need the Ka, but I doubt that can be done until the next generation, which hopefully will be out of Fiat’s hand. With Jiangling, they need to start building the next generation Ranger, Everest, and Transit Connect. Also with Jiangling, to compete is the huge small van market, Ford needs to build a purpose built utility van based on the Fiesta.
3. New Brands
Ford recently announced that they will soon create a new low cost brand the name of which is not known yet. This brand would be perfect for some of Ford’s cheap cars sold around the world already like the South American Fiesta, Ka, and Courier. But this should only be one part of the plan. GM is able to sell so many cars for it has five brands operating in the country. There is no reason why Mercury and Lincoln can not be introduced into China. As a start, they could import models like the Navigator, MkS, MkT, and MkX until models change over to the world platforms so the Milan, Tracer, Mariner, and MkZ can be built in the country as well. This would give Ford a complete line of products from the low cost to the luxury markets.
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