Ford to Consider More Value Models for Smaller Chinese Cities

Ford Motor Co. is considering introducing more models in the value segment to target consumers in the country’s smaller and less developed cities.

The automaker will produce electric vehicles in China, with the timing undecided and depending on market acceptance, Joe Hinrichs, president of Ford’s Asia Pacific and Africa region, said in an interview at the Beijing auto show today.

“We’ll be bringing in more value proposition products from the Ford brand, lower price points, more value oriented,” Hinrichs said. “Those tier four, five cities in the central, western part of the country, that’s where the opportunity is, where the untapped potential is.”

Ford, playing catch up in China with General Motors Co. and Volkswagen AG, announced plans last week to build a $760 million assembly plant in Hangzhou that will double its Chinese output to 1.2 million vehicles annually. The Dearborn, Michigan-based Ford has said it will bring 15 new models and 20 new engines and transmissions to China by 2015.

The automaker will begin selling three additional sport-utility vehicles in the country within the next year to meet demand for the fastest-growing segment of China’s auto industry.

Ford’s China inventory fell to 30 days at the end of the first quarter from the “mid-30s” at the start of the period, Hinrichs said.

— With assistance by Tim Higgins, and Liza Lin

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