Published: October 13, 2015 | Beijing, China
Ford announces RMB 11.4 billion (USD 1.8 billion) investment in China to deliver improved connectivity, semi-autonomous vehicle features and autonomous vehicle development driven by the needs of Chinese consumers. The investment will allow Ford to significantly build up its research and development capabilities in the country—especially at its Nanjing Research and Engineering Center (REC)—and will help Ford create more world-class vehicles in China, for China.
China’s consumers are some of the most connected in the world, with nearly 600 million active smartphone users across the country – and they like to stay in touch on the road. A survey commissioned by Ford found that 45 percent of Chinese drivers have used their phones, and 31 percent have sent text messages, while stuck in traffic. In China, SYNC also will be the first in-car connectivity solution to feature support for Tencent’s new in-vehicle app, Chelian.
Chelian enables drivers to access popular Tencent services such as the QQ messaging app, as well as music, real-time traffic conditions and streaming radio. Drivers will be able to control the app with SYNC through Ford’s in-car connectivity system, AppLink. QQ is China’s largest social-media platform, with more than 840 million active user accounts.
Ford also announced that there will be more than 1 million SYNC-equipped vehicles on the road in China by the end of 2015. This will be quickly followed with the 2016 introduction of SYNC 3.
Ford’s investments in China goes beyond vehicles which is purely aligned with Ford’s vision of becoming “mobility integrators”. Ford has recently completed a project with Dida, China’s leading carpooling service – are a key element of the company’s efforts to change the way the world moves with comprehensive transportation solutions.
Through the Dida “CityRide” project, drivers of Ford vehicles in the pilot cities of Beijing and Shanghai registered as users of Dida Pinche, a carpooling app, offering to carpool with passengers on their morning and evening commutes. During the month-long campaign, Ford and Dida offered 170,000 rides to people in the two pilot cities, with the rides adding up to a total of 2.56 million kilometers traveled – enough distance to circle the globe 64 times. Through the CityRide project, by carpooling, drivers and riders also helped cut carbon dioxide emissions by 700 metric tons.
Responding to the needs of drivers on China’s roads, who contend daily with traffic, pollution and difficult parking situations, Ford also will continue to implement advanced “eyes and ears” in its vehicles – cameras and sensors that help drivers steer through traffic, monitor traffic signs and stay safely in their lane. Features such as Active City Stop, Active Park Assist, Adaptive Cruise Control and Lane Keeping System on existing vehicles like the Focus, Everest and Mondeo already help to relieve some of the stress of city driving. Next-generation versions of these systems will make use of advanced sensors to make driving even safer and more convenient.