Ford signs deal with Google, Baidu partnership unaffected

2021-02-02 12:03:57

An employee works in a Ford plant in Kentucky, the United States. [Photo provided to] Ford is partnering with Google to develop onboard apps and services for its vehicles, but the United States carmaker said on Tuesday its vehicles in China will continue to feature those from local tech companies including Baidu. Google will help Ford to reinvent its connected vehicle experience and accelerate its transformation using its expertise in data, artificial intelligence and machine learning, according to a deal the two inked on Monday. As part of the six-year deal, millions of Ford and Lincoln vehicles at all price points will be powered by Android, with Google apps and services built in, starting from 2023. However, Ford China said vehicles for the Chinese market will be an exception. It said they will continue to feature infotainment systems co-developed with local Chinese tech companies including Baidu. "Our relationship with Baidu will not change," said Ford China in a statement to China Daily. "Ford is committed to cooperation with leading Chinese companies and will explore win-win opportunities so as to offer the best smart products and services for Chinese consumers." Ford sold 602,627 vehicles in China last year, up 6.1 percent from 2019. This marked the carmaker's first annual sales growth in the world's largest car market since 2017, despite the lingering COVID-19 pandemic. "Ford's sales momentum is a reflection of our continued focus to grow in China and deliver on our 'Best of Ford, Best of China' commitment," said Anning Chen, president and CEO of Ford China, in a statement.