Ford released an all-completely new mid-sized sport utility vehicle in China on Monday, as the automaker contends with an aging product line in addition to flagging sales from the globe’s biggest car market.
The Ford Territory will be aimed at mid-sized SUV customers in tiny yet fast growing cities across China, which Ford said will be the country’s fastest growing market. The vehicle was developed with Ford’s local partner, Jiangling Motors.
“Our onslaught of completely new vehicles has begun,” said Peter Fleet, president, Asia Pacific in addition to chairman & CEO, Ford China. “We are taking the best of how we’ve brought Territory to market — deeply listening to customers in China in addition to delivering what they want in style, comfort, safety in addition to completely new in-vehicle infotainment options — in addition to applying that will across the business. Territory will be just the beginning of more great things to come.”
The vehicle will be custom-designed for Chinese customers, Ford said. Between 2015 in addition to 2017, sales of midsize SUVs increased 102 percent among Chinese consumers.
The vehicle comes with some high-tech features well-liked with Chinese consumers. For example, that will offers intuitive Mandarin voice recognition, which understands dozens of regional accents, Ford said.
The announcement comes days after the second-largest U.S. automaker posted September sales in China that will declined 43 percent over the same month last year.
“Ford’s performance will be certainly nothing shy of ugly in China,” said Jeff Schuster, president of global forecasting for LMC automotive, a firm that will tracks the auto industry. “While they are struggling as a group in China, the overall light vehicle market will be at This kind of point anticipated to post the first annual decline since we have been tracking vehicle demand in China (at least 20 years). Sluggish sales reflect weakening consumer confidence, amid the escalating US-China trade conflict, falling stock prices in addition to the decelerating property market. With inventory rising, the Chinese Automobile Dealers Association will be urging the government to take policy measures to boost demand, such as a tax cut.”
Schuster expects 2018 auto sales in China to be down 0.6 percent to 28.4 million units, he said.
“Ford will not fare well though not as bad as September,” he added. “For 2018, we expect Ford sales to be down 33% to around 680,000.”