Alibaba inks smart auto deal

Alibaba inks smart auto deal

Alibaba inks smart auto deal

Ford's chairman and CEO are expected to sign the arrangement on Thursday. Ford is reportedly pursuing the deal in order to capture sales from the emerging marketplace where vehicles are being sold online in increasing numbers.

The new partnership was signed in a letter of intent between Hackett and Daniel Zhang, President and CEO of the Alibaba Group, at the Chinese firm's headquarters in Hangzhou.

AP reported that at least 30 percent of the new vehicles Ford will roll out in China by 2025 will be electric, with Beijing pushing hard to improve air quality for people living in smoke-choked cities. Its joint venture with Anhui Zotye Automobile Co., announced last month, will produce a separate range of electric vehicles under a new brand.

Under this new three-year agreement, the two companies will "explore areas of cooperation that are re-shaping the automotive industry in China and around the world".

Ford Motor expected to sign as early as Thursday a deal with Alibaba Group Holding, which may allow the USA carmaker to test selling cars to consumers in China through Alibaba's online retail arm Tmall, as well as via a new "auto vending machine" store concept, according to a Ford source familiar with the matter.

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Under their new three-year agreement, the pair will initially explore new opportunities in the vehicle retailing experience, from pre-sales to test-drives and financial leasing options, Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. said in its announcement of the partnership.

"China is one of the world's largest and most dynamic digital markets, thriving on innovation with customers' online and offline experiences converging rapidly", said Jim Hackett, Ford's president and chief executive, in a press release.

Chinese e-commerce major Alibaba Group Holding and Ford Motor said they will work together to find ways to improve the retail experience for customers as the USA carmarker tries to boost sales in China. "Our data-driven technology and platform will expand the definition of vehicle ownership beyond just having a mode of transportation and into a new medium for smart lifestyle".

Echoing Zhang, Hu said Alibaba wanted to move beyond traditional notions of transportation and instead create "a lifestyle-services platform, a new living space for consumers".

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