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Ford Everest production starts in China
Aussie-developed Everest hits the road in China where Ford hopes to ride SUV boom
20 Aug 2015
THE Australian-developed Ford Everest has started rolling off the assembly line in the Chinese city of Nanchang which becomes the second production site for the big Ranger-based seven-seat SUV after Thailand.
Ford and Chinese partner JMC (Jiangling Motors Co) staged a line-off ceremony for the first Chinese-fettled Everest at the factory in China’s Jiangxi province, south west of Shanghai, on the same day that Ford Australia was showing off its facelifted Ranger ute to journalists in Victoria.
The vehicle will go into Chinese showrooms in a few weeks, just as the Thai-built version arrives on Australian shores to take up the battle with the likes of the Toyota Prado, Holden Colorado 7 and the soon-to-be-updated Mitsubishi Challenger.
While the Australian version will be offered exclusively with the five-cylinder 3.2-litre diesel engine in 143kW form, the Chinese market will get a choice of two four cylinder engines – the 2.0-litre EcoBoost petrol and 2.2-litre Duratorq diesel.
The start of Everest production in China marks 20 years of Ford’s relationship with JMC, which also builds Transit vans for China, along with EcoBoost engines for a variety of Blue Oval models made in the world’s largest motor market.
With Everest, Ford Motor China is hoping to cash in on the massive growth of SUV sales in that country.
So far this year, SUV sales have jumped 47 per cent compared with 2014, with almost three million sold.
Ford needs the lift in the market – its best-selling SUV there, the Kuga was ranked 19th in July sales, two spots ahead of the larger, US-designed Edge.
The Ford Kuga and Edge are both made for Ford in China by another joint-venture partner, Changan, which is based in the west China city of Chongqing.
The Everest will sit above the Edge in the Ford line-up, relying on its rugged body-on-frame construction and high levels of safety equipment to lure buyers to pay 269,800-to-369,800 yuan ($A57,621-$78,979) price tag.
Ford Motor China chairman and CEO John Lawler said the Everest gave Chinese drivers access to Ford’s most innovative, advanced SUV technologies.
“With the new Ford Everest, we’re setting a new bar in the segment, giving Chinese drivers great design, driving dynamics and advanced technologies that make for a smarter, safer and more capable vehicle at a very attractive price,” he said.
Safety equipment offered in the Chinese version includes ESC, lane departure warning, blind spot warning and cross-traffic alert.
The importance of Everest to China was emphasised by Ford’s decision to give the SUV its global unveiling in Beijing in 2014.
The Everest was designed and engineered alongside Ranger by a Ford Asia-Pacific team based in Melbourne.
Everest is already in production alongside Ranger at Ford’s Rayong factory in Thailand and on sale in that market.
While the Ranger is built in Thailand, South Africa, Argentina and, from the end of this year Nigeria, the Everest will only be produced in Thailand and China.
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