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Ford to Pour $1.8 Billion Into Smartcars for China

WSJ

Oct. 12, 2015 5:29 a.m. ET
SHANGHAI— Ford Motor Co. is betting that a new generation of smartcars will help its rides stand out in China, where its sales have been slipping amid industrywide weakness and rising competition.

The U.S. car maker said on Monday it will invest 11.4 billion yuan, or $1.8 billion, over the next five years to research how to add greater smartphone connectivity, autonomous driving and other smartcar features to its Chinese products. With that investment, the next generation of Ford vehicles for China will be designed around customers there, said Ford Chief Executive Mark Fields.

Ford is hoping the R&D spending push in China will help it develop smartcar features specifically tailored to Chinese drivers. Currently Ford is seeking to install smartcar systems in China using technology it developed and uses in other markets.

“We see China as a very big growth market,” he said on Monday. “It’s a great opportunity to grow not only our core business of selling cars and trucks but also provide services to people that may not want a car but still want to be mobile.”

Potential features include allowing drivers to control more car systems through their smartphones and to use their mobile chat functions, particularly during traffic jams. A video showing snarled traffic from China’s recently ended Golden Week holiday went viral in recent days and illustrated the depth of the problem.

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More for China......

But what about the US?

It seems the Ford electrification program for the US has stalled. Even China is getting the outdated retrofit C-MAX Energi and Fusion Hybrid models.

All I can say is the next new car I buy will have a plug if is a plug-in hybrid it has to have an electric range of over 30 miles, and if it's an EV, over 250 EV miles will work. And right now, Ford has nothing. Still rolling with 2012 technology that's been downgraded twice for the plug-in hybrid models. Focus Electric has had zero powertrain updates since launch in 2011.
 

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Mercury C557
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at first I thought this was like about Smart-like-MB


totally agree eFoMoCo is letting us down so far

WSJ said:
...Also, to respond to the Chinese government’s call to reduce emissions, Ford will start to offer two fuel efficient vehicles in China next year: the Ford C-MAX plug-in hybrid electric car and the Ford Mondeo hybrid electric car...
imho FMC really needs to "take a step" even before A.M.P comes out
 

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The Chinese drive with a Smartphone in hand to the point that I'd assume it's law to do so. Any connectivity that gets their hands on the wheel is good, though I still fear the amount of attention being focused on 'connectivity' will distract from the pesky task of driving no matter how hard they try... if any place is ripe for automated / self-driving cars, it's China. The problem is how to integrate them with people on bicycles, on tricycle carts, and on foot...
 

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Just to put Lincoln into some perspective, Ford is spending $5 Billion in the same period for the entire brand and all its new cars.

As for Ford's Electrification program, we may see some progress with the next MCEs. Hopefully they are working on the next-gen of Hybrids and the long rumored and severely overdue dedicated hybrid. I'm still waiting on Ford's Volt but they have some catching up to do and are likely waiting on the right technology and cost structure to make it viable.

I think it's interesting that we are starting to see a less strict "One Ford" approach and going back to more regionalized development and spending. But then again, that could just be the cost of doing business in China.
 

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Just to put Lincoln into some perspective, Ford is spending $5 Billion in the same period for the entire brand and all its new cars...
this kind of thing makes me think of (prolley 50-ish years ago-like) talking about like-spending money separately on husband Versus wife Versus kids Versus house...
...as tho 'funds' for each really were 100% separate


also
I remember** that $5billion amount being reported JUST AS Mr.Fields was officially taking over from Mr.M
and
that the media-critters IMMEDIATELY (next day?) started saying the amount was going UP


**I chopped a graph :nevreness:
dunno which thread but file has a date of Sept.29,2014
 
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