The second largest US automaker was a late comer to China’s auto market, but has since recuperated the distance to its competitors and has now opened its sixth assembly facility in the country.
The new factory, located in Hangzhou, China, will cater for the production output of a new and unique three-row variant of the Ford Edge midsize sport utility – the version has been designed and will be sold primarily on the Chinese domestic market. The $760 million plant sees the Edge as its first production vehicle – but the factory will cater for more models soon as its design allows the flexibility of producing up to six different vehicle models and additional output capacity can rise by 250,000 units annually. Ford’s chief executive officer, Mark Field, signaled the importance of the Chinese market by being present at the factory’s production start. Their newest plant has been made through a joint venture – Changan Ford – and the US automaker now has a total installed capacity in the country of 1.4 million autos annually.
The new assembly facility has a three-row version of the Edge, a little longer and taller than its two-row mate built in Oakville, Ontario, for export to the rest of the world. “This world-class facility will help us accelerate the delivery of high-quality, innovative products to our customers in China,” commented Fields in a statement. The carmaker has also pledged 15 new models for the Chinese market this year, including the iconic, 50-years old Mustang. Ford, thanks to the added production capacity, now seeks to overtake Hyundai as the fourth-biggest foreign carmaker in China.