(Yicai Global) Oct.24 -- Ford Motor has installed a new head at its China business as part of the US auto giant's efforts to put an end to sliding sales in a key market.
Chen Anning, a former chief executive of Ford China, has rejoined the firm to head up its China unit, which will operate as a standalone business from now on, its Michigan-based parent company said in a statement.
"Success in China is critical as we reposition our global business for long-term success," said Ford President and CEO Jim Hackett. "With today's actions, we are strengthening our commitment to the Chinese market and reorganizing our international markets to strengthen their performance."
Dr. Chen's immediate priority will be to tackle a decline in sales, which slumped 30 percent to 585,000 units in the first three quarters from a year earlier. Sales at joint venture Changan Ford Automobile dropped 55 percent to fewer than 36,000 in September. At its peak in 2016, Ford was shipping close to 1.3 million units.
Ford described Chen as "a seasoned, highly qualified 25-year auto industry veteran." Chen resigned from his position as CEO of Chevy Automobile and chairman of the board at Chery Jaguar Land Rover last month, where had served for 10 years.
According to a report by Quanqiu Auto, Ford approached Chen the moment he left Chery and the statement on his appointment was made earlier than expected since Ford China is going through a difficult period.
To tackle its troubles, the Shanghai-based company will focus on localization of products and local hiring in key management positions.
The once strong China vehicle market, which is still the world's largest, has hit Ford's global performance with profit down 45 percent to USD1.1 billion on a 2.4 percent dip in revenue to USD38.8 billion.
"As we transition China to a stand-alone business unit, led by an experienced and talented Chinese business leader, we are able to become more fit as a business, increase our decision-making speed and be closer to our customers," said Jim Farley, executive vice-president and president for global markets at Ford.
Editor: William Clegg