Ford plans deal with Alibaba to sell passenger cars online in China

Ford plans deal with Alibaba to sell passenger cars online in China

Ford plans deal with Alibaba to sell passenger cars online in China

In the initial phase, Ford and Alibaba will explore a pilot study on digital solutions for new retail opportunities at various stages of the automotive ownership cycle, from pre-sales and test drives to leasing options.

However, in the current unfinalized version of the deal, financing will be provided through Alibaba's affiliate Alipay rather than Ford Motor Credit Co., according to Reuters, which broke the news of the deal late Wednesday.

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Additionally, the letter of intent between the two company's commits them to "explore areas of cooperation" over the next three years in connectivity, cloud computing, artificial intelligence, mobility services, and digital marketing, according to Ford's press release. The alliance could see Ford utilize T-Mall to sell cars to consumers - the company has sold items like cargo jets via Taobao before - but there could be room for collaboration within Alibaba's "Next Retail" strategy that unites online and offline commerce.

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.

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Mark Truby, Ford's global chief spokesman said the company is expected to make an announcement on Thursday in Hangzhou, where Alibaba is based, but declined to comment in advance. Those cars could come directly from Ford or its dealers, with details still to be worked out, the unnamed source added.

Peter Fleet, Ford's Asia-Pacific president, said electric cars will take a big share of China's auto market, and the joint venture hopes to become a leader in the field. Collaborating with leading technology players builds on our vision for smart vehicles in a smart world to reimagine and revolutionize consumers' mobility experiences, " said Jim Hackett, Ford's President and CEO.

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Ford's sales in the first 10 months of this year were 938,570, a decline of 5 per cent from the same period in 2016, against a 2.2 per cent gains to 3.13 million for hometown rival General Motors.

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