Ford to invest in new China R&D plant

The US car giant is doubling its efforts to crack the Chinese market.

Despite fears of a general slowdown and sharp decline in car sales earlier this year, Ford Motor Co has announced it will invest 11.4bn yuan ($1.8bn) into R&D in the region over the next five years.

Ford hopes to expand into China's growing new energy vehicle (NEV) market and aims to offer a range of hybrid, plug-in hybrid and full electric vehicles, like the C-MAX Energi and Mondeo conventional hybrid, by 2020.

The American carmaker lagged behind domestic and European rivals for a share in the booming market, but is now the fifth-biggest foreign automaker in China, behind GM, VW, Hyundai and Nissan. A slowdown in Japanese car sales was a boon for Ford, which has enjoyed double digit sales growth over the past 18 months.