China is home to the world’s largest vehicle consumer base, and car manufacturers like Ford Motor Company are making moves to cater to this massive, still-expanding market.
Ford will open a new test facility worth $103 million—part of a larger $197 million investment at a current Ford facility in China—for research and engineering.
The 163-acre Chinese facility, called the Nanjing Test Center (NTC), will offer a test track with 80 different types of roadway conditions, an emissions testing facility, and a collaborative work area called MakerSpace where employees can create and test new ideas, according to a Ford press release.
“As we continue our transformation into an auto and mobility company, we are investing to improve our [research and development] capability around the world,” said Dave Schoch, president of Ford Asia Pacific. “China is not only a major center of manufacturing and sales - but also a key hub of talent and innovation.”
In looking to the future, Ford leaders have reached an agreement with Chinese electric vehicle company Anhui Zotye Automobile for a $756 million joint venture to create and sell fully electric cars in China.
“Nobody knows the needs of Chinese drivers better than our local engineers,” said Trevor Worthington, Ford’s vice president of Asia Pacific product development. “The NTC will now allow us to test their designs quickly and easily, reducing time-to-market for future Ford products.”