By Yilei Sun and Norihiko Shirouzu
SHANGHAI/BEIJING (Reuters) – Ford Motor plans to launch more than 30 new models in China over the next three years of which over a third will be electric vehicles, the U.S. automaker said on Wednesday, as it seeks to reverse slumping sales in the world’s top auto market.
Ford had said previously it would launch 50 new or significantly redesigned vehicles in China starting in 2018 and through 2025, and Wednesday’s announcement provides more clarity on the timeline.
Its China operations chief Anning Chen said the automaker is committing itself to improving its relationships with Chinese joint-venture partners and localising its management teams by hiring and promoting more Chinese nationals and global talent with Chinese expertise, among other initiatives.
The new plans are intended to “enable us to gain the momentum to break through” in the marketplace, Chen told a small group of reporters.
Ford has been struggling to revive sales in China, the second biggest market globally for the Dearborn, Michigan automaker, after its business began slumping in late 2017. Sales slumped 37 percent in 2018, after a 6 percent decline in 2017.
Ford has said its sales crisis stemmed mainly from a lack of new products. Industry experts also ascribe the company’s China trouble to the Sino-U.S. trade war and its rocky relationship with domestic partners Changan Automobile Group and Jiangling Motors Group.
(Reporting by Yilei Sun in Shanghai and Norihiko Shirouzu in Beijing; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)