Ford Names New China Chief to Halt Losses in World's Top Market

(Bloomberg) -- Ford Motor Co. elevated China to a stand-alone division reporting directly to its global headquarters and brought back a company veteran to head the operations as it tries to return the unit to profit amid a slowing market.

Anning Chen, a former Ford manager who later served as the chief executive officer of Chery Automobile Co. and chairman of Chery and Jaguar Land Rover’s joint venture, will lead Ford’s turnaround effort in the country, the company said Wednesday.

Ford is doubling down on China and plans to introduce 50 new vehicles by 2025 and increase local production for Ford and Lincoln brands after falling behind rivals in the world’s largest market. To cater to the booming demand for electric cars in China, where Tesla Inc. is setting up a car factory, Ford has set up a joint venture with Anhui Zotye Automobile Co. to produce a range of small battery-powered vehicles.

Key Insights
  • The split of China into its own business unit follows what rival General Motors Co. did years earlier, signaling the emphasis global carmakers are placing on the crucial market.
  • Ford CEO Jim Hackett said in July that he was “extremely dissatisfied” with his company’s performance in China after losing $483 million in the second quarter. He cautioned that it may take until 2020 before an updated range of SUVs starts to make a difference to the bottom line.
  • Ford unveiled a new SUV with its joint venture partner Jiangling Motors Corp. last week, counting on the market in lower tier cities to help boost its flagging sales.
  • The U.S. carmaker also expects its EV joint venture with Zotye to receive government approval by the year-end, as part of its plan to comply with China’s stringent rules on fuel efficiency and new-energy vehicle production.

Ford Names New China Chief to Halt Losses in World's Top Market

With assistance from Editorial Board