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Ford launching new SUV to fuel China growth

U.S. car manufacturer Ford Motor Co. said Aug. 8 that it will roll out its new Ford Territory midsize SUV in China shortly after disclosing its underperformance in the Chinese market.

When it reported second-quarter results on July 25, Ford said it will localize more products in China to address its underperformance in the country and work on "improving cost competitiveness with aggressive fitness actions." The company's vehicle sales in the country dropped 38% year over year in June.

The new SUV line, developed in partnership with Chinese automaker Jiangling Motors Corp. Ltd., will launch early 2019 in China.

The Ford Territory will be available in three powertrain variants and will feature signature Ford grille and LED lamps, Co-Pilot360 suite of driver assistance technologies and an infotainment system with Mandarin voice-command function, among others.

The company will look to capitalize on the local market's growing SUV segment, which saw an annual growth rate of 38% between 2012 and 2016, according to the release.

In an interview with Reuters, Ford's Asia-Pacific President Peter Fleet said: "This new vehicle is part of our growth plan that will improve our business in China and return us to profitability and set us on a growth trajectory again in China."

Ford also said in its recent earnings results that new products will be entering the Chinese market, with 60% of the lineup being refreshed or new by the end of 2019.

Last month, the company said it will keep car prices unchanged in China despite additional tariffs on vehicle imports from the U.S.