Ford set to partner with Alibaba to test online auto sales in China: Report

Ford Motor is expected to sign as early as Thursday a deal with Alibaba Group Holding which may allow the U.S. automaker 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.

Representatives of Ford and Alibaba, including Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford Jr. and Ford CEO Jim Hackett, are expected to be in Hangzhou on Thursday to sign a letter of intent that outlines the scope of the new partnership.

According to the source, who did not want to be named because he is not authorized to speak with reporters, the deal is intended to position the Dearborn, Michigan, automaker for an emerging Chinese marketplace where more cars could be sold online.

The partnership would be part of Ford’s effort to overhaul its China strategy to revive the growth momentum it has lost in recent months.

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