Ford Opens Nanjing Test Center and MakerSpace as Part of Product Development Investment in China
Late last month, Ford officially cut the ribbon on its Nanjing Test Center, which cost about RMB 680 million (approximately $103 million USD) out of the company’s previously-announced RMB 1.3 billion (approximately $196.4 million USD) investment in product development in China.
The function of the Nanjing Test Center will be to serve as a proving ground for new and next-generation Ford products sold in China and the Asia Pacific region. It includes, among other things, approximately 80 different types of road surface conditions; an emissions testing facility; a laboratory that will test for noise, harshness, and vibration; and a three-kilometer (1.9-mile) test track.
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“Nobody knows the needs of Chinese drivers better than our local engineers,” said Trevor Worthington, vice president, Product Development, Asia Pacific. “The NTC will now allow us to test their designs quickly and easily, reducing time-to-market for future Ford products. It will test a diverse portfolio of Ford vehicles for China and Asia Pacific, including performance vehicles, both compact and full-sized passenger cars, SUVs, and light-weight commercial vehicles. It will also reduce our need to send prototypes abroad, saving time and money in the product development process.”
The NTC will also host a MakerSpace creative hub, which will promote creativity and collaboration amongst employees. The MakerSpace is the result of RMB 5.5 million (approximately $831 million USD) of the aforementioned investment.
“The goal of the Maker Space is to get Ford employees out of their cubicles, off the computer, and into a creative environment where they are inspired to think up new ideas and build stuff,” said Sean Newell, dean of Leadership & Innovation, Ford Asia Pacific. “It will unlock the spirit of innovation that has always been part of Ford’s DNA and is essential for us to stay relevant and competitive in future.”
Ford’s total investment, which was announced in April at a Ford Go Further event in Shanghai, also includes RMB 250 million (approximately $37.8 million USD) allocated to a second, Nanjing-based powertrain and powertrain technology development lab.
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