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Ford eyes China partnership

Ford Motor Co. and a Chinese automaker said Tuesday they are looking into setting up a joint venture to develop and manufacture electric cars in China.

Ford's potential venture with Anhui Zotye Automobile Co. adds to the global auto industry's rising activity in electric vehicles for China, which passed the United States last year as the biggest market for them.

Chinese planners who see electrics as a promising industry and a way to clean up smog-choked cities are pushing automakers to speed up development.

Ford previously said it plans to offer electric versions of 70 per cent of its models in China by 2025.

Privately owned Zotye Auto, headquartered in the eastern city of Huangshan, produces its own electric vehicles and said sales in the first seven months of this year rose 56 per cent over the same period of 2016 to 16,000.

"This presents us with an exciting opportunity to leverage each other's strengths," Zotye chairman Jin Zheyong said in a joint statement.

Sales of pure-electric and gasoline-electric hybrids in China rose 50 per cent last year over 2015 to 336,000 vehicles, or 40 per cent of global demand. U.S. sales totalled 159,620.



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