Ford Motor Co., looking to reverse financial losses amid a five-year sales slump in China, plans to retrench in the world's largest vehicle market with a new strategy focused on the commercial business, electric vehicles and exports.
Ford CEO Jim Farley said China remains important to the company but that it plans to spend less there while concentrating only on areas of the business that generate the highest returns. He said he and his leadership team recently returned from China to finalize those plans.
"We're not going to try to serve everyone," Farley said on a call Tuesday discussing Ford's first-quarter earnings. "It will be a lower investment, leaner, much more focused business in China."
Farley cited the company's joint venture partnership with Jiangling Motors Group as an example of what it will do moving forward, with plans to use Chinese operations as "export hubs" for affordable EVs and commercial vehicles to markets such as South America, Australia and Mexico.
Last month, the company announced the next-generation Lincoln Nautilus for North America would be exported from China, a first for Lincoln. Executives have said the luxury brand is profitable in China.