Ford Motor’s premium Lincoln brand reportedly plans to build around five new vehicles in China by the year 2022, according to recent reports. This is considered to be a move to expand the company’s sales in the world’s largest vehicle market. In addition, this would dampen any negative impact of the US-China trade dispute.
Ford has already announced its plans to manufacture an all-new sport utility vehicle in China by the latter part of next year. On the other hand, the automaker didn’t disclose any further details on the future production plans for the Lincoln brand in the Asian country.
“Our localization plans to support the China market are on track and will serve to further drive Lincoln’s growth in China,” said Lincoln spokeswoman Angie Kozleski. “Beyond that, it would be premature to discuss our future product and production plans or timing.”
According to other sources, the business is scheduled to start creating the new Lincoln Aviator in China in late 2019 or early 2020. This will come along the replacements for the MKC compact crossover and the MKZ midsized sedan. It will be followed by the all-new Nautilius in 2021. The Nautilius will replace the Lincoln MKX crossover.
Ford to Lose Much Amid US-China Trade Spat
Ford stands to lose a lot in the wake of the trade dispute between the United States and China that many market participants fear would grow into an all-out trade war between the world’s two biggest economies.
Last year, the company shipped around 80,000 vehicles from North America to China. More than 50 percent of those were Lincolns, supporting the brand’s growth.
Chinese vehicle imports from all markets in 2017 rose to 1.2 million. However, that still represents below 5 percent of total vehicle sales in the country based on the figure from the China Automated Dealers Association.
The 25 percent tariff, that is currently in effect, makes it a struggle for Ford’s American premium brand to beat rivals, which sidestepped from the tariffs via their vehicles built locally. For one, GM’s Cadillac is manufactured in China, thus it avoids the country’s high tariff duties. Cadillac outperformed Lincoln by over 3-to-1 in China in 2017.
“As long as Lincolns are not manufactured in China, the brand’s sales will no doubt suffer continuously,” said Zhu Kongyuan, who is the secretary General of the China Auto Dealers Chamber of Commerce.
Zhu added that if China pushes on its threat to double the import tariffs before Lincoln ramps up its local production, there will be price hikes. These price hikes will then push people to buy a Cadillac or other competitor brands rather than Ford's cars.