Ford names president for China JV
Ford Motor Co. said Thursday it has named Phil Spender, former chief of its Flat Rock, Mich., plant, to head its joint venture with China's Changan Ford Automobile Co.
Spender will be president of Changan Ford Automobile effective May 1, replacing Ron Tyack, who is taking on a special assignment, the company said in a statement.
The announcement follows management changes at General Motors Corp.'s operations in China amid slowing sales and intensifying competition.
While president of Ford's North American joint venture with Mazda Motor Corp., AutoAlliance International Inc., in Flat Rock, Spender oversaw the launches of the Mazda 6 and the all-new 2005 Mustang.
A relatively late arrival in China, Ford recently announced plans to expand its partnership with Changan Automobile Group, in which Mazda is also involved, by building a third factory in China. Ford has a 33.4 percent stake in Mazda.
Ford began auto production in China in 1997. It is still trying to catch up with U.S., German and Japanese rivals, who are also building up their China operations despite recent signs that growth in auto sales is slowing.
Ford builds Mondeo and Fiesta sedans at Ford Changan's plant in Chongqing, a sprawling municipality in western China. It also builds Ford Transit light trucks in Jiangxi province with Jiangling Motors Co., a Chinese light truck and van maker in which Ford has a 30 percent stake.