Ford Motor Co. and partner Changan Automobile Co. launched a new r&d center for their passenger vehicle joint venture in the southwest China municipality of Chongqing.
The facility is part of a plan to accelerate business development at Changan Ford, according to Ford China, a Ford unit in charge of the U.S. company’s operations in the Greater China region.
The center, which opened last week, will enable Changan Ford to achieve deeper integration of Ford’s product design DNA and Chinese consumers’ preferences in vehicle design.
It will also develop vehicle prototypes and test gasoline and electrified vehicles for emissions; vehicle and component endurance; noise, vibration and harshness; and dynamic performance and functionality, according to Ford China.
Changan Ford, based in Chongqing, produces and markets sedans and crossovers under the Ford brand. It is also slated to start assembling vehicles for the Lincoln brand later this year.
Due to a lack of new and redesigned products, sales at Changan Ford have steadily declined since 2017. In the first eight months, deliveries plunged 61 percent to 108,001.
Ford also runs a joint venture with Changan in the east China city of Nanchang. The partnership, Jiangling Motors, produces the Ford-badged Everest SUV, Tourneo multi-purpose vehicle, Transit van and Territory compact crossover.
Jiangling Motors also builds trucks and light vehicles for JMC, Jiangling Motors’ proprietary brand.
Through August, total sales of Ford-badged vehicles built at the two joint ventures dropped 47 percent from a year earlier to 163,629, according to numbers disclosed by Changan and Jingling Motors.
Ford will roll out more than 30 new and upgraded vehicles, including 10 electrified vehicles under the Ford and Lincoln brands, in China over the next three years, according to a product plan the company disclosed in April.