* Ford to launch 50 new vehicles in China by 2025
* Will add at least 15 new “electrified” vehicles
* U.S. firm’s sales have been sluggish in China this year
* China pushing market towards new-energy vehicles (Adds pictures to media information)
SHANGHAI, Dec 5 (Reuters) - Ford Motor Co will launch 50 new vehicles in China by 2025, including 15 electrified vehicles, the U.S. firm said at an event in Shanghai on Tuesday, as it looks to rev up sales growth in the market and shift towards cleaner electric cars.
Ford’s sales in China have been weak in recent months, and the company is scrambling to come up with electric and hybrid vehicles to comply with strict Chinese quotas over production and sales for so-called new energy vehicles, or NEVs.
The U.S. automaker is undergoing a broad review of its China operations, part of a strategic re-think under new Chief Executive Officer Jim Hackett, which will likely see the company focus on electric commercial vans as well as electric cars.
“Between now and 2025, we will launch 50 new vehicles in China, and of those 50 new vehicles, 15 of them will be all-new electrified vehicles,” said Peter Fleet, Ford’s head of Asia Pacific, pointing to big growth in the “utility” segment.
Fleet also said Ford’s China revenue would grow by 50 percent over the same period.
China is pushing automakers toward electric and hybrid petrol-electric vehicles, setting tough quotas for NEVs that come into play in 2019, and has signalled a longer-term shift away from traditional internal combustion engine cars.
The major shift in the world’s largest auto market has jolted some automakers, sparking a spate of recent electric vehicle (EV) joint ventures in the market. Ford has announced an EV tie-up with China’s Anhui Zotye Automobile Co Ltd .
“We’ve never seen change like we do today,” said Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford. “Everything is being disrupted” by the development of autonomous vehicles, trends such as ride-sharing and electric vehicles, he added.
“It’s clearly the case that China will lead the world in EV development, and so we at Ford are investing enormous amounts of money both here in China and globally to bring electrification into fruition.” (Reporting by Adam Jourdan; Writing by John Ruwitch; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman and Christopher Cushing)