Ford CEO Mark Fields Seems Stoked to Send More Product to China, Especially Trucks

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
ford ceo mark fields seems stoked to send more product to china especially trucks

Ford’s Mark Fields had plenty of positive things to say about last week’s meeting between Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping. After spending months of his campaign accusing China of stealing American jobs, Trump left the conference optimistic at the prospect of improving the relationship between the two countries.

That’s welcome news for Ford, which wants to dramatically expand its presence in Asia over the coming years. The automaker has already decided to launch Lincoln models in the Asian market, hoping to piggyback off Buick and Cadillac’s success in China. On Thursday Fields also outlined a company decision to have 70 percent of all Ford nameplates sold in China by 2025 be part or fully electric — helping the company meet stricter emission standards and maintain volume in the East.

Of course, those plans are all nearly worthless if China decides to play hardball with Western automakers. “There’s huge, enormous mutual ties between the two countries from a trade standpoint,” Fields said during an event to explain Ford’s strategy to boost pickup sales in China. “We have to tread very carefully on that because the economic relationship is the basis of the overall relationship.”

China’s current policies require foreign automakers to establish joint ventures in order to manufacture vehicles within the country and also impose tariffs on imported cars. Those tariffs, in conjunction with dealer markups, have placed some of Ford’s vehicles at ridiculously high price points. A recent press release showed that imported Raptors cost around $19,000 more in China than they do on the domestic market. That’s not going to cut it for a company that is dead set on making pickups popular in Asia. However, the country has only just begun allowing light trucks inside the city limits of a small number of urban areas.

Field’s says Ford would rather not limit itself to 50 percent ownership of its Chinese business and needs those pickup restrictions lessened so it can effectively deliver on its plan to introduce the rest of the F-Series lineup — and eventually the Ranger in 2018. He’s hoping the meeting between Trump and Xi will be a step in the right direction.

“When you have two leaders meet face to face, they become people to each other,” Fields said in an interview with Bloomberg in Shanghai. “That’s a very firm foundation to then go off and make concrete advances to strengthen the ties between the two countries. I feel that’s very possible.”

[Image: Ford Motor Company]

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  • Big Al from Oz Big Al from Oz on Apr 09, 2017

    It would be great to see the US export fullsize pickups to China. Ah ....... but the chicken tax??? Will the US accept Chinese midsizers. In Australia we have the Foton Tunland. From the reviews I've read they are not that bad. I saw an add the other day for $29 990AUD ($22 500USD) for blinged, leather, crew cab 4x4s. These have Dana axles, Getrag gearboxes, Borg Warner tx cases, Bosch electronics and a Cummins diesel. There will need to be some give and take on both sides, especially if Mark Fields wants fair access to the Chinese market. This doesn't take into account the Chinese Ranger, which is similarly priced with the Tunland. I foresee the UAW causing a problem or two. I say fnck the UAW. If they want input then maybe the can buy FCA or start their own auto manufacturing business. But it would fail.

    • See 14 previous
    • Guitar man Guitar man on Apr 11, 2017

      @Drzhivago138 >>"A recent press release showed that imported Raptors cost around $19,000 more in China than they do on the domestic market." Dream on. The F series is too wide and doesn't comply with regulations in China or any other asian country. That's why the Hilux and Ranger are so narrow. >>"That’s not going to cut it for a company that is dead set on making pickups popular in Asia"

  • OldManPants OldManPants on Apr 09, 2017

    "Field’s (sic) says Ford would rather not limit itself to 50 percent ownership of its Chinese business.." It stay half Chinee-ese if you don't please. Doesn't appear Ford has much leverage when their priciple money maker is big, dumb, pushrod BOFs that would be the easiest class of vehicle for Chinese to copy should their populace ever have the means and desire to demand them in significant quantities. Hence the electrification pipedream, but the Chinese and other more pliant JV partners can do that too.

    • See 28 previous
    • Lou_BC Lou_BC on Apr 10, 2017

      @OldManPants Looks like some people can't take a joke.... but then again, we be talkin' V8's and real honest to goodness frames. That is like slagging American pickups, mom and apple pie..... even though mom and dad might be cousins ;)

  • Tassos And all 3 were ordered by Fisker's mother. Seriously, given Fisker's terrible record of Failure in the past, only an utter loser, (for example, VGhost or Art Vandelay?), looking for a BEV terrible enough to be a proper replacement of his 11 mile range Fiat 500E, would order one of these. (apart from Fisker's mother)
  • Tassos And all 3 of them were ordered by Fisker's mother.Seriously, after Fisker's DISMAL record of UTTER FAILURE in the past, only a GOD DAMNED MORON would order this one.
  • RHD Any truth to the unconfirmed rumor that the new, larger model will be called the bZ6X? We could surmise that with a generous back seat it certainly should be!
  • Damon Thomas Adding to the POSITIVES... It's a pretty fun car to mod
  • GregLocock Two adjacent states in Australia have different attitudes to roadworthy inspections. In NSW they are annual. In Victoria they only occur at change of ownership. As you'd expect this leads to many people in Vic keeping their old car.So if the worrywarts are correct Victoria's roads would be full of beaten up cars and so have a high accident rate compared with NSW. Oh well, the stats don't agree.