Ford, whose overall China sales are down 7% this year, said in a statement on Tuesday that it had signed a memorandum of understanding with Zotye Auto to build a new brand under which the electric vehicles will be sold.
In April, it outlined plans to offer by 2025 hybrid or fully electric versions of all models built in China with its domestic joint venture partner, Chongqing Changan Automobile Co Ltd.
Ford (NYSE:F) says its new JV in China aims to capture a "sizable" share of the China all-electric market.
The joint venture marks a major step for Ford's electrification initiatives in China.
Ford wants to get into the electric vehicle game, and just signed a memorandum of understanding as it moves toward that goal.
"This presents us with an exciting opportunity to leverage each other's strengths in achieving a win-win situation for both parties' growth in the fast-evolving Chinese electric vehicle market", said Jin Zheyong, chairman and president of Anhui Zotye.
A Ford spokesman said the company hoped to reach an agreement with Zotye by the end of the year. Ford expects the market for new energy vehicles to grow to six million per year by 2025, and approximately four million of those to be all-electric. A large chunk of the those sales have been plug-in hybrids that, due to China's limited charging infrastructure, may not get plugged in very often, or small electric vehicles with limited range.
Anhui Zotye sold more than 16,000 all-electric vehicles in the year through to July, a 56 per cent year-on-year rise. Further details on the joint venture will be released at a later date, pending final negotiations and regulator approval. Ford has attributed the decline in part to changing government incentives.