Ford Treks into New Territory With China-Only Ute

New SUV starts rolling off assembly line in China.

by on Oct.16, 2018

Ford's new entry-level sport-utility, the Territory, is the first of a wave of 50 new or redesigned products for China.

Ford Motor Co.’s late arrival in the Chinese car market is well documented, and the automaker’s been attempting to make up for lost time for the past few years with varying degrees of success — until last year, when sales took a double-digit nose dive.

However, the automaker is looking to affect a dramatic change by attacking the the highest demand area for buyers in China, which was also Ford’s weak spot: sport-utility vehicles.

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The company has been teasing its new Territory midsize SUV for some time, but now it’s on the road and looking to lead Ford on a trek to strong sales and even stronger profits. The new Territory – the ute, not profitability – was developed in partnership with its joint-venture partner in China, Jiangling Motors Corp.

“Our Ford customers in China now have access to an SUV with the exceptional comfort and capability they’ve asked for with more rear legroom, a large 10.25-inch all-digital high-definition LCD screen, 4G LTE Wi-Fi connectivity, and cloud-based voice recognition that controls vehicle functions, such the sun-roof, windows, interior climate and infotainment,” said Jim Farley, Ford executive vice president and president of global markets.

(China car market tumbles, creating problems for American automakers. Click Here for the story.)

“The Ford Territory midsize SUV is set to exceed the needs of China’s dynamic and diverse consumers in what is the fastest growing automotive segment in the country.”

All-new Territory is equipped with Ford's infotainment system with an intuitive voice-command function, as well as a FordPass Connect embedded modem as standard across the range.

The new ute leverages Ford’s global expertise in vehicle design, engineering, testing and manufacturing with JMC’s market expertise and in-depth insights into Chinese consumers, officials say, adding that they are delivering an SUV that meets the demands of new car buyers in the world’s largest automotive market.

Working with a local company helped Ford identify the markets it needs to be a player in and quickly. Midsize SUVs are now the fastest growing automotive segment in China and during the previous two years, sales of midsize SUVs increased 102% among Chinese consumers, the company said.

And 68% of midsize SUV buyers in China live in second-tier cities where the potential for further sales growth is greatest, Ford notes.

(Click Here for more about Ford, Trump and China.)

“Our onslaught of new vehicles has begun,” said Peter Fleet, president, Asia Pacific and chairman & CEO, Ford China. “We are taking the best of how we’ve brought Territory to market – deeply listening to customers in China and delivering what they want in style, comfort, safety and new in-vehicle infotainment options – and applying it across the business. Territory is just the beginning of more great things to come.”

Chinese customers will be able to enjoy a smart and roomy Ford SUV instilled with Ford design DNA, at an affordable price.

While having an offering in the segment is a good start, knowing what the market wants is crucial and the Chinese buyers want technology in their vehicles. With the Territory, as Farley mentioned, they get plenty of safety and convenience tech.

The FordPass Connect offers a mobile 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot, and also enables functions that drivers can access through the FordPass app, including remote start, remote lock/unlock and parking and vehicle locators.

The Territory offers intuitive Mandarin voice recognition, which understands dozens of regional accents. Users use phrases to operate useful functions. For example, “It’s hot today,” turns on the air conditioning while “The sky is blue,” and the roof sun visor and driver side window will open.

(To see more about Ford killing Focus crossover from China due to Trump tariffs, Click Here.)

Offered for the first time in the entry-level midsize SUV segment by Ford in China, the Co-Pilot360 suite of driver-assisted technologies (DATs) brings the Territory to a higher level of safety and sophistication. These advanced features include: Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), Pre-Collision Assist, Forward Collision Warning (FCW), Blind Spot Information System (BLIS), Lane Departure Warning, Active Park Assist System (APAS), 360-degree camera and Hill Start Assist.

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