Ford is reportedly planning to produce Lincoln models in China alongside its domestic partner Changan Automobile Group.
The Blue Oval wants to further expand its premium brand Lincoln and China is the right region to aim for. Therefore, Bloomberg reports that Ford is now considering to bring the production of its luxury line right at the heart of the world’s biggest auto market and it is reportedly in talks for such a move with its long-time joint-venture partner Changan Automobile Group. The plan could be put in motion starting from 2018, but all depends on Lincoln being able to keep its current fast sales pace in the country, according to a source. However, another person familiar with the matter revealed that no agreement has been reached between the two sides and the output is unlikely to start sooner than 2020.
Ford believes that China has the potential to become Lincoln’s biggest market and to surpass US by the end of the decade. “It’s different in the US than in China,” Kumar Galhotra, head of Lincoln, said earlier this year. “In China, our heritage plays very strong. Our favorable opinion in China is actually ahead of Lexus and on the factor of prestige, we’re actually ahead of Audi.”
Lincoln has started selling vehicles in China two years ago and it has delivered more than 11,000 units there last year, all models being imported. Bringing the output in China would mean lower production costs and no import taxes, thus being able to market the brand’s models with a more competitive price tag and to compete with the German premium rivals.