Ford is looking to 2020 with high hopes as it tries to reestablish itself in China. Despite some of the challenges the company will inevitably face, it plans to make its presence known by closely tailoring its product to the needs of China’s citizens and establishing closer ties with the community.
Recently, Ford has struggled to stay afloat in China’s market; decreasing in last year’s sales by 37 percent to 752,243 vehicles. This decrease is partly due to the country experiencing economic decline, lack of local demand and trade tension. Evidence of China’s struggling marketplace can be seen in the -4.1 percent loss in overall passenger vehicle sales in 2018. The loss of footing in the China market is also partly due to Ford wrongly assuming that Chinese consumers would favor the same vehicle features Americans do; allowing Japanese and German competitors to get the upper hand.
To recover from its mistakes and its decline in the marketplace, Ford plans to closely tailor its product to the needs of China’s citizens. It will do this through releasing over 30 more vehicles, up to 10 of them being electric; including the 2020 Ford Escape. These vehicles will feature designs more appeasing to the Chinese customers. The perfect example of this is seen in the Ford Escape, which personifies daqi (the Chinese term for a desire for status, pomp, and harmony) through more chrome, detailed lights and an intricately decorated grille. In addition to the release of multiple vehicles, Ford plans to adhere to China’s specific technological needs. It has begun this endeavor by partnering with Baidu – the equivalent of Google in China – to create an in-vehicle infotainment system named Sync+ that is supported by artificial intelligence and Chinese language voice recognition.
Along with the changes in its products, Ford’s last part of the plan is to strengthen its ties in the Chinese community. This part of the plan will be executed by starting a China-dedicated design center, focusing its Nanjing engineering center on producing more for China, and initiating ventures with local business organizations.