Ford to crew with Alibaba on on-line automobile gross sales in China

Alibaba, Ford Partner to Redefine the Driving Experience

Ford China Chairman and CEO Jason Luo and President of Alibaba Senior Vice President Simon Hu signed the document, which bonds Ford and Alibaba in a three-year deal that will see the automaker working with the AliOS, Alibaba Cloud, Alimama, and Tmall business units.

Meanwhile, the link‐up with Alibaba could also see Ford sell cars through the internet giant´s online portal Tmall.

Executive chairman William C. Ford Jr. was even more direct in his assessment of the importance of China. The S&P 500 Index is flat.

Ford Credit did not respond to a request for comment by press time.

Cars would be housed in and picked up from a multi-story parking garage resembling a giant vending machine, but consumers can "browse" options on their smartphones before testing them on site and buying, according to Reuters. The chosen vehicle would be delivered to the ground floor.

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The white paper follows extensive engagement by government with industry, academia and business bodies who submitted nearly 2,000 responses to the green paper consultation earlier in 2017.

The model allows shoppers with good credit to purchase their new ride with a 10 per cent down payment and then make monthly payments for the auto purchase through Alibaba's affiliate Alipay, according to Alibaba.

The tie-up came just days after Ford announced plans to launch 50 models of new vehicles in China by 2025, including at least 15 electrified cars, and pledged to have all new Ford and Lincoln-branded vehicles in China to be internet-connected by the end of 2019.

The move, though, could be potentially problematic for dealers, some industry experts said. "But if this format gains steam, it would definitely impact dealers", said Yale Zhang, the head of Shanghai consultancy Automotive Foresight.

"The scope of alliance is fairly broad and vague at this point, but a large chunk of the" strategic collaboration" appears to be based around developing a direct sales channel to reach consumers in China. "Retail innovation is great, but is by its nature disruptive and can't keep everyone happy". As of October, Ford's 2017 vehicle sales were down 5% from the same period in 2016. The ability to test drive a auto ordered online could change that.

Ford's China sales have been sluggish in recent months in part because it has failed to catch on to rapidly changing trends in the marketplace, including the rise of entry-level cars popular in smaller and lesser-known cities, where demand is booming.

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