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Ford to Invest $1.8 Billion USD into Innovation in China

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Mark Fields, John Lawler and Joseph Liu at 2015 Ford -Innovation for Millions on Monday

Mark Fields, John Lawler and Joseph Liu at 2015 Ford -Innovation for Millions

Ford today announced plans to invest 11.4 billion yuan, or $1.8 billion USD, into researching and developing great vehicle connectivity and new autonomous driving features over the next five years. By focusing specifically on products and consumers in China, Ford hopes to cement its foothold as one of the most popular foreign brands in that market by catering specifically to needs prevalent there.

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“At Ford Motor Company, our goal is to make people’s lives better,” said Mark Fields, president and CEO, Ford Motor Company. “As both a product and mobility company, we are driving innovation in every part of our business. The result here in China will be positive change for consumers in the way people move, the way they drive, the cities they live in, and the communities in which we operate.”

During a press event on Monday, Ford announced that it aims at being of more eminent appeal to the nearly 600 million active smartphone users in China. A study found that around 45% of Chinese drivers have used their phones in some capacity while waiting in traffic jams, making the implementation of smartphone connectivity crucial for securing new customers.

Ford announced that it will have more than 1 million vehicles on the road in China equipped with SYNC technology, and that number is likely to spike even more as SYNC 3 hits the market in 2016. Ford is also investing in developing autonomous vehicle technology, much of which will be tested at the Nanjing Research and Engineering Center.

Ford also announced the results of its Dida CityRide pilot project, wherein drivers in Ford vehicles offered 170,000 rides across two pilot cities and found that ride-sharing can help cut carbon dioxide emissions by 700 metric tons a year.

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