China is the world’s largest market for heavy trucks. People who are suicidal enough to have personal experience with Chinese highways will readily agree. Nearly 1 million units of the heavy (and usually blue) units were sold last year, more than in North America, Europe and South America combined. Ford wants a chunk of this interesting market.
Ford owns 30 percent of China’s Jiangling. Jiangling is a major Chinese light commercial vehicle maker that also makes the Ford Transit for China. Jiangling (and with them Ford) wants to “expand into the country’s heavy-truck business by taking over Taiyuan Changan Heavy Truck Co.” as Reuters reports.
Taiyuan’s current owners, China Changan Automobile and China South Industries Group are affiliated with Chongqing Changan Automobile, Ford’s carmaking partner in China.
If Jiangling tinkles a bell, then you are either very familiar with the Chinese truck business. Or you remember that Jiangling was first to try to export Chinese cars to Europe. In 2005. Jiangling brought its Landwind SUV to the Frankfurt Auto Show, much to the horror of the German auto industry. A crash test was arranged by the ADAC, the German equivalent of the AAA. The car failed miserably, the video became a hit on Youtube, and turned into an example for all that’s wrong with Chinese cars.
In 2010, Jiangling tried again and brought its CV9 Minivan to Europe. The market wasn’t necessarily clamoring for Chinese minivans, and not much came of the project.