Kia Motors and Chinese partner Dongfeng have announced the creation of ‘Horki’, a new brand dedicated to the Chinese market. The first vehicle to wear the badge, a concept based on the all-new Kia Cerato‘s (Forte) platform, looks surprisingly good.
The name Horki, as ridiculous as it sounds, combines “Hor” signifying China and “Ki” signifying driving. Together, the two words somehow suggest harmony and driving.
Aimed at better meeting the specific needs of buyers in China, Horki will allow the Korean automaker to pursue a dual brand strategy with clear distinction between relatively premium (Kia) products and budget-oriented models.
The first production Korki will go on sale in the second half of 2015. The brand will offer a range of vehicles, including alternatively-powered vehicles.
Saved By Geely! Smart Gets A New Lease On Life
It might have been a close call for the struggling city car brand.
The Smart brand never proved popular with buyers, and parent company Daimler was reportedly planning to pull the plug if it couldn’t find a partner. Well, the search for a savior is over.
The German automaker has entered into a joint-venture with China-based Geely to develop the fourth-generation ForTwo and expand the Smart brand’s portfolio with the addition of more lucrative models.
Each company will own a 50-percent stake in Smart. Daimler’ Mercedes-Benz will design the next-generation ForTwo and Geely will provide the engineering and assembly at a brand-new, purpose-built factory located in China.
“For more than 2.2 million customers, smart represents a pioneer in urban mobility. Based on this success story, we look forward to further enhancing the brand with Geely Holding, a strong partner in the electric vehicle segment,” stated Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars. “We will jointly design and develop the next generation of smart electric cars that combine high-quality production and known safety standards for sale both in China and globally.”
Set to go on sale in 2022, the next-generation Smart will be offered only as an electric car and will be sold in every major global market, including Europe.
New Ford Territory Is A Hybrid SUV For China
The new Ford Territory is one of 50 new or redesigned vehicles Ford has planned for China from 2018 through 2025.
Jointly developed with local partner Jiangling Motors Corporation (JMC), Ford’s entry level SUV is essentially a rebadge of Jiangling’s Yusheng S330 that’s been on sale since 2016, but with a different front fascia, more attractive dashboard design, and more technology. Chinese buyers have the choice of three engines — a 1.5-liter turbocharged gasoline engine, a 48-volt mild hybrid system, and a plug-in hybrid powertrain.
Inside, the Territory features a modern infotainment system with Mandarin voice controls and is available with Co-Pilot360 suite of driver assistance technologies, which includes adaptive cruise control and FordPass Connect.
Sales begin in early 2019 with a price tag that should be higher than the S330’s start MSRP of around 80,000 Yuan (~$11,700 USD).
Lincoln Will Build Five Vehicles In China By 2022
China, with a population of over 1.3 billion people, is now the most important market for the world’s automakers, including Lincoln.
The American firm, which currently makes all its vehicles in the United States, plans to build at least five new models in the country in an effort to increase sales, avoid potential import tariffs, and up its presence.
Ford Motor Co. previously confirmed that it will build a new SUV in China in 2018, and that SUV will likely be the new Lincoln Aviator. According to sources, the Aviator will arrive in late 2019 or early 2020, and it will be followed by the replacements for the MKC crossover and MKZ sedan.
The Nautilus will also be produced in China by 2021 and could be followed by a small coupe-like crossover that’s set to enter production by 2022.
Lincoln spokeswoman Angie Kozleski told Automotive News:
“Our localization plans to support the China market are on track and will serve to further drive Lincoln’s growth in China.”
Lincoln’s increased focus on China is no reason to think it will stop making cars in North America. Like other automakers, the firm simply needs to be able to build in China, as well, in order to be competitive globally.