(Reuters) – Ford Motor Co <F.N> on Thursday named Steven Armstrong president of the Changan Ford joint venture in China, at a time the U.S. automaker is trying to stem a decline in sales in the world’s second largest economy.
The company’s sales dropped 37% in 2018 in the world’s top auto market, mainly due to a lack of new products. Over the next three years, Ford plans to launch more than 30 new models in China, of which over a third will be electric vehicles.
“Steve’s leadership will help us further strengthen the Changan Ford JV as we bring more new vehicles to the China market, including our first global all-electric small SUV,” Ford CEO Jim Hackett said.
Armstrong, the current chairman of Ford Europe, will begin his new role on Oct. 1, and report to Ford China President and Chief Executive Officer Anning Chen.
Armstrong replaces Nigel Harris, who will retire at the end of 2019 after more than three decades with the U.S. automaker.
(Reporting by Sanjana Shivdas in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli)