Ford is accelerating its plan to start producing Lincoln models locally in China in order to avoid tariffs.
The company was originally planning to start production of Lincoln models in China in late 2019 along with a local partner but is currently trying to speed things up, even by the slightest, to help avoid the tariffs brought by the Chinese administration in retaliation to the measures taken by the US government.
“What we want to do is accelerate that,” Joy Falotico, head of Lincoln and Ford’s chief marketing officer, said during an interview with Bloomberg. “We will look for opportunities, but it’s a big undertaking and I think it won’t be a significant change in our plans.”
Lincoln is currently lacking the local production facilities most of its competitors have in China, so even a small move would help them improve their position in the world’s largest market for cars. US-built vehicles saw their prices soaring after China imposed 40 percent tariffs on them. Ford is currently absorbing some of the cost but Lincoln sales have slowed significantly in the region.
Lincoln revealed the new Aviator at the Los Angeles Auto Show, which is one of the three SUVs the brand is planning on launching in China in the second half of next year. Ford’s CEO Jim Hackett said that the US administration’s metals tariffs will cost the company around $1 billion in profit annually. Last August, Ford scrapped its plans to export the Focus Active from China to USA.