State-owned Jier Machine Tool Group has won its sixth order from Ford for high-speed stamping equipment, breaking the stranglehold that German companies have had for the past 20 years.
"This order is the largest single export order that Chinese machine tool producers have ever received in the field of high-end machine tools. It also means that, for the first time, several complete stamping lines made by Chinese companies are being used by a well-known car manufacturer in a developed country," said Wu Bolin, the vice-president of the executive committee of the China Machine Tool & Tool Builders' Association.
The new stamping line, at Ford’s Kentucky truck plant, is due to be completed by April 2015.
Jier, based in Jinan, Shandong province, has an 80% domestic market share for large-scale and high-speed stamping lines. The company has already installed four new stamping lines at plants in Michigan – replacing 20 stamping lines dating from 1938 – and one at Ford’s Kansas City plant. The Michigan installation is due to be finished early next year.
China has been the world's largest metalworking machine tool consumer for 11 consecutive years and the largest producer for four years in a row.
The country spent US$38.28bn on metalworking machine tools last year, accounting for 45% of the global total, according to data provided by the association.
China's import of machine tools registered a year on year drop of 15% to US$2.9bn in the first quarter while export volume was at US$960m, up 8.52% year on year.