Ford doesn’t have much to show for when it comes to all-electric vehicles aside for the Focus Electric, a compliance car converted from the gas-powered version, as it has mainly been focusing hybrids.
Now the Dearborn company is more aggressively phasing out its passenger cars as it focuses on trucks and electric vehicles.
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CEO Jim Hackett made the announcement during the company’s latest financial report this week.
He said that they will be “building a winning portfolio and focusing on products and markets where Ford can win.”
That means phasing out almost all sedans in North America.
“For example, by 2020, almost 90 percent of the Ford portfolio in North America will be trucks, utilities and commercial vehicles. Given declining consumer demand and product profitability, the company will not invest in next generations of traditional Ford sedans for North America. Over the next few years, the Ford car portfolio in North America will transition to two vehicles – the best-selling Mustang and the all-new Focus Active crossover coming out next year. The company is also exploring new “white space” vehicle silhouettes that combine the best attributes of cars and utilities, such as higher ride height, space and versatility.”
Last year, Hackett also formed a new internal team, called ‘Team Edison’, to oversee electric car programs and he shifted one-third of internal combustion engine investments to electric cars, but the company is still investing more in the former than the latter.
It’s not too surprising since all U.S. automakers have been signaling an increasingly more aggressive shift to SUVs and trucks, but I don’t see it as a reason not to focus on electric vehicles.
I’ve been arguing for a while now that they need to not be complacent about adding all-electric powertrains to their portfolios because they are focusing on trucks.
Ford only announced plans for a hybrid F-150 in 2020 – not even a plug-in. They have opened the door to the possibility of an all-electric version, but they seem shy about pulling the trigger.
I published an article arguing that the US auto industry needs a push to transition its biggest segment, trucks, to being powered by batteries and Tesla unveiling its all-electric pickup truck could be that needed push.
Like with the Model 3, if they reveal it and accumulate tons of pre-orders, even though it’s not planned to reach the market for a few more years, it could light a fire under other automakers.
Tesla has since been revealing more info about their planned pickup truck, but they haven’t unveiled anything official yet.
While we are waiting for more concrete moves from established automakers on that front, several startups have been moving forward.
Workhorse is trying to be the first to market with a plug-in hybrid electric pickup truck with a significant all-electric range and the all-electric Havelaar Bison E-Pickup is starting to take shape in Canada.
There’s also another effort that I find particularly interesting. Rivian Automotive, a startup that bought Mitsubishi’s factory and is keeping a low profile, is planning to make electric pickup trucks and SUVs.