Published: Thu, October 05, 2017
Markets | By Erika Turner

'Team Edison' outlines futuristic plans, new tech for Ford

'Team Edison' outlines futuristic plans, new tech for Ford

Ford will add new SUVs across global markets, including more rugged, off-road entries in the US - where Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV's Jeep brand now dominates that category - as well as larger SUVs in China and other developing markets. He also revised the company's talking points on autonomous cars by taking a broader stance on how the company will bring those vehicles to market in 2021.

Hackett's plan also entails moving production of the Ford Focus from North America to China to save on costs.

A current Ford Focus, for example, can be had in 360 different combinations of engines, transmissions, colors, trim lines and so on. It plans to spend this cut down amount on the expansion of electric and hybrid cars.

The goal is to fundamentally transform the company says Hackett.

Ford has previously said that it has a long-range electric vehicle in development, a compact crossover SUV with 300 miles of range that will go into production in MI by 2020. Many automotive manufacturers are now warning that product range, which is predominantly internal combustion engine, will reduce profit margins of conversion to fully electric vehicles. In a sign that Ford is turning away from what is essentially a global push of its Ford and Lincoln brands, the Dearborn, Michigan automaker wants to drive its truck-making China partner Jiangling Motors Corp (JMC) more towards electric commercial vans.

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Hackett was named to replace Mark Fields after the Dearborn automaker watched its share price suffer despite profits during Fields' tenure.

Given this latest development, I think it's clear that Ford shareholders can expect Hackett to address both issues in his presentation on Tuesday.

That notion was reinforced Monday when Ford's crosstown rival GM - which already sells the long-range electric Chevy Bolt - announced plans to have 20 battery-powered cars on the road by 2023. "We try to manage everything, all aspects of the business under "One Ford", and that hobbled the company's ability to move quickly, costing market share.

That practice led to much misreporting this year on plans by Volvo and Jaguar Land Rover, among others, to make all future products capable of accepting at least mild-hybrid powertrains. He'll be joined in NY by Bob Shanks, executive vice president and chief financial officer; Jim Farley, executive vice president and president of global markets; Joe Hinrichs, executive vice president and president of global operations; and Marcy Klevorn, executive vice president and president of mobility.

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