SHANGHAI, Jan. 18 (Xinhua) -- Ford Motor Co. opened a new design center in China's business hub Shanghai on Monday, a move considered an important layout for the U.S. automaker to increase investment in the Chinese market.
With world-class facilities such as a full-size clay model workshop, it is the only full-function automotive design center in downtown Shanghai.
The company said it will use the latest technology to create future products that cater to the demands of the Chinese consumers and at the same time lead global trends.
Focusing on the design and development of products for the Chinese market, the center has the whole-process automotive design abilities such as design trend research, interior and exterior modeling design, digital interactive experience design, and full-size clay model production.
At the design center, designers can review the clay models with 8K-resolution high-definition LED large screen and the latest virtual reality equipment, while revising and delivering relevant data through a three-dimensional scanning device.
"Through Ford's global virtual reality real-time review system, design teams in China can effectively communicate and review designs online with their counterparts in other continents at any time," said Chen Liang, an exterior design manager of Ford China.
Last year, Ford sold nearly 625,000 vehicles in China, up 3.7 percent year on year, with its Lincoln brand recording the best annual sales since entering the country.
The opening of this world-class design center is the latest impetus for Ford China to continue its brand transformation, according to Anning Chen, group vice president of Ford Motor Co. and president and CEO of Ford China.
"Through design, Ford's iconic classic elements can be seamlessly integrated with Chinese innovation trends, and this is the most intuitive way for the company to connect with Chinese customers," Chen said.
China's auto sales have topped the world for 13 consecutive years. In 2021, the country sold about 26.3 million vehicles, up 3.8 percent year on year, according to data released by the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers.
As one of the country's automobile manufacturing bases, Shanghai has become an emerging global art and fashion center, with many international car companies, including Ford, Tesla, Nissan and General Motors, setting up design centers in the city.
Ford's design workforce in China has increased about tenfold in the past two years, and more than three-quarters of its creative design team is currently made up of young local designers aged under 35.