Ford Smart Mobility and Zotye Auto signed an agreement to establish a new 50/50 joint venture that will focus on supplying smart, customized all electric vehicles to fleet operators and drivers in China's ride-hailing market. With the ride-hailing industry growing at a rapid pace, many operators are looking towards options in expanding their fleets. According toe Boston Consulting Group, the local e-hailing market is expected to grow by 19% annually through 2022, with an overall fleet size potentially reaching up to 26 million vehicles.
The new mobility joint venture will work closely with the already existing Zotye-Ford manufacturing joint venture in providing a range of stylish and affordable electric vehicles for consumers in China under a new indigenous brand, pending regulatory approval. "As people and cities across the world increasingly adopt new mobility services, we also need to work together to ensure these services are solving key issues such as accessibility and air quality versus adding to them," said Marcy Klevorn, executive vice president and president of mobility, Ford Motor Company. "By providing smart-enabled electric vehicles for the ride-hailing market, this new mobility joint venture will be a key part of the solution for China's cities." The new joint venture will provide fleet operators and drivers with all electric vehicle leasing services, data-driven fleet management solutions, in-vehicle digital services, connectivity and vehicle customization.
The Zotye-Ford mobility joint venture will be located in the Zhejiang province and focus on the ride-hailing market of that province with a roadmap to expand to other provinces in the future. It has a registered capital of $20 million with each contributing equally half each. Zotye has been one of the leading brands in China's all-electric small vehicle segment and was one of the first automakers in the country to produce all-electric passenger vehicles. The company sold 36,000 vehicles in 2017.