Thursday, August 9, 2012

Ford Enter Chinese Heavy Haulage Venture with Truck Firm Whilst Extending Driving Technology

Global Vehicle Group in Partnership Venture Whilst Testing Innovative Inter Vehicle Communications
Shipping News Feature

CHINA – The Ford Motor Co. announced yesterday it was to venture into the country’s heavy haulage market when its long term collaborator Jiangling Motors Corporation (JMC) issued the news it is to buy 100% of the Taiyuan Changan Heavy Truck Company. Ford says it is part of its continued aggressive policy of expansion in Asia which it sees as potentially the world’s richest market for its products. China is the world’s largest heavy truck market, with more sold last year than Europe, North America and South America combined.

In addition to the acquisition, to accelerate its growth in China, Ford will be introducing 15 new vehicles and 20 advanced powertrains to China by 2015. To support this growth, Ford and its partners are building five new plants in China, including a new $300-million manufacturing facility in Nanchang where JMC is based, with an annual capacity of 300,000 units. When the facility comes online in 2013, it will produce both JMC and Ford-branded vehicles. To date, Ford has invested a total of $4.9 billion to grow its presence in China, which the company says will be a key engine driving Ford’s growth globally within this decade and beyond.

Ford is a major shareholder in JMC, holding 30% of the stock in a group which currently manufactures light commercial vehicles and SUVs, including the Ford Transit which it has been producing since 1995. JMC sold more than 190,000 vehicles in 2011, bringing in revenue of 17.5 billion Yuan (approximately $2.7 billion). The deal is subject to Chinese Government approval and when this is received, JMC will pay cash for the 80% stake currently held by China Changan Automobile and the 20% holding of China South Industries Group Corporation meaning Taiyuan Heavy Truck will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of JMC.

Ford says demand for heavy duty trucks is expected to continue to pick up steadily given China’s long-term economic growth potential and strong investments in infrastructure by the Chinese government. Ford has at least seven fully owned subsidiaries and partners within China and the new deal was witnessed on Monday at a signing ceremony Taiyuan, the capital of Shanxi Province, by government officials and executives including Dave Schoch, chairman and CEO, Ford Motor China and vice chairman of JMC, who said:

“JMC’s acquisition represents a great opportunity to continue to expand the breadth of our business in China across vehicle segments. A strong heavy truck operation like Taiyuan will complement Ford’s existing passenger car and light commercial vehicle operations here in the world’s largest and fastest-growing vehicle market. Being a major shareholder of JMC, Ford is delighted to witness JMC’s rapid development and business expansion in the commercial vehicle market. Ford has enormous experience and world-class products and technologies, including in the heavy truck business, which can be deployed to support JMC after the acquisition.”

In other Ford news the company has supplied 20 vehicles to a 120 strong fleet being used to test innovative driver assisting technologies. Tests will take place in Frankfurt and surrounds on such exciting concepts as interconnecting brake lights, the lead vehicle instantaneously telling the following that an emergency braking incident has occurred, even if out of site around a bend.

The $65 million test bed will also investigate obstacle warning devices communicating dangers to following traffic, roadside warnings transmitting directly into the drivers cab including traffic scenarios on proposed routes and internet access to enable tolls, parking fees etc. to be paid for automatically en route.