Everything You Need To Know About Ford's Dramatic Electric Push

Illustration for article titled Everything You Need To Know About Ford's Dramatic Electric Push
Photo: Ford

Ford is making a bunch of noise about electric cars, Nissan reacts to an earthquake, and Bentley. All that and more in The Morning Shift for February 17, 2021.

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1st Gear: Ford Marketing Continues To Go In On EVs

GM has been soaking up the spotlight lately with its EV song and dance, while Ford has been trying to steal it from them. Ford’s latest effort to do that is a press release today that says Ford is “going all-in on EVs.” In that release, Ford says it will be “moving to all-electric by 2030" in Europe. Here is Ford’s precise language:

Ford committed today that by mid-2026, 100 percent of Ford’s passenger vehicle range in Europe will be zero-emissions capable, all-electric or plug-in hybrid, and will be completely all-electric by 2030.

The Financial Times clarifies a bit more:

Ford will stop selling cars in the UK and Europe with any form of internal combustion engine by 2030, in the most ambitious regional electrification target of any big manufacturer.

Every passenger car model will have an electric or plug-in hybrid option by 2026, but the company will go 100 per cent electric by the end of the decade, the US carmaker announced on Wednesday.

“We expect the majority of the vehicles will already be battery electric by 2026,” Ford’s European president Stuart Rowley told the FT.

Ford is investing $22bn in electric technology by 2025 globally, and the announcement makes the group the largest carmaker so far to pledge all-electric sales by 2030 in the European region.

The automotive journalist John Voelcker argues that this is not all that it’s cracked up to be in a thread here:

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I agree with Voelcker’s more calming tone to the extent that I wish companies would stop talking about what they aspire to do and just do it. Marketing students keep taking copious notes.

2nd Gear: Nissan Production Affected By Earthquake

There was a 7.3-magnitude earthquake in Japan on Saturday, injuring dozens, and also leading Nissan to “adjust” its production.

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From Reuters:

Nissan Motor Co Ltd will adjust production in Fukuoka prefecture this week due to disruptions in parts supplies after an earthquake hit northeastern Japan, two sources familiar with the matter said.

The earthquake on Saturday affected autoparts maker Hitachi Astemo, the sources said.

Hitachi Astemo, a joint venture between Hitachi Ltd and Honda Motor Co Ltd, produces parts for car suspension systems at its plant in Fukushima prefecture which are used by automakers including Nissan and Toyota Motor Corp.

Nissan shortened the operating time of two lines at its Fukuoka plant, which produces Serena minivans, from Tuesday night, and will halt production on Saturday, sources said.

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3rd Gear: Bentley Is Doing Just Great, According To Its Chief Executive

Bentley is a British car marque that I frequently wonder, why? I don’t mean to be too negative. If you own a Bentley I am very happy for you, but they are expensive and don’t totally earn that and also look kinda weird and also seem too British. Thanks to China, it’s doing just fine.

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Per Reuters:

Bentley began the year with 50% more orders than the start of last year and built more luxury cars in January than the same time in 2020 as China boosted demand despite challenges from the pandemic, its boss told Reuters on Wednesday.

The Volkswagen-owned brand said it had not faced major disruption from Britain’s exit from the European Union nor from a shortage of semi-conductor chips, which has forced some automakers to halt or reduce production.

Based in Crewe, northern England, the over century-old marque made a small profit in 2020, when its factory was forced to close as Britain entered its first national lockdown, and hopes to build on that this year.

“The order bank at the beginning of this year was 50% higher than it was at the beginning of last year,” Chief Executive Adrian Hallmark said in an interview.

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This is, I have to imagine, a situation similar to why Buick is still around.

4th Gear: Car Sales In Europe Bad

Sales in January were the worst ever, in fact, because of lockdowns there. This is one of many shocks to the system that will keep happening as we recover.

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From Bloomberg:

New-vehicle registrations plunged 26% to 842,835, the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association said Wednesday, cutting short a reprieve of smaller declines toward the end of last year. Spain led the drops among major markets with a 52% fall, while sales in Germany fell by almost a third.

Shuttered showrooms and hesitant consumers are plaguing automakers which also are fighting production outages due to a worldwide shortage of semiconductors. Many manufacturers’ earnings are being rescued by resurgent demand from China, with Volkswagen AG and BMW AG among those posting better-than-expected preliminary earnings.

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Or it’s a dark harbinger to come.

“In one line: Hit by one-off factors, but fundamentals don’t look good,” said Claus Vistesen, economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics Ltd. He expects more stringent credit standards, a worsening job market and uncertainty over the strength of the economic recovery to cap sales during the first half of this year.

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The fundamentals don’t look good!

5th Gear: Honda Will Soon Have A New CEO: Report

According to Reuters’ sources, it is Toshihiro Mibe, who currently heads its research and development department.

Honda Motor Co. will name Toshihiro Mibe, head of the its R&D arm, as new CEO, two people with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters.

Japan’s second-biggest automaker by sales will announce the decision after a board meeting as early as Friday, the people said, requesting anonymity because the information is not public. Mibe will be confirmed as president and representative director at an annual shareholders’ meeting in June, they said.

Mibe, who is a director at Honda, will replace Takahiro Hachigo, who has held the CEO role for six years.

Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Seiji Kuraishi will remain in his post to support Mibe, the people said.

It was not immediately clear whether Hachigo would retain a position at Honda.

The story includes this slightly awkward statement from Honda.

Honda said in a statement on Wednesday that it is not true the company has decided to change its CEO.

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We’ll see I guess!

Reverse: The Beetle

The car that is hated by Jeremy Clarkson, James May, and Richard Hammond also happens to be owned by two (2) Jalopnik editors.

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Neutral: How Are You?

I went to Zuma Beach this past weekend and was owned in that I paid $10 to park in the lot when everyone else just parked on the side of the road for free. There was some kind of religious gathering happening on the beach. The surfers didn’t pay attention to any of it.

News Editor at Jalopnik. 2008 Honda Fit Sport.

DISCUSSION

the-easter-bunny
ROBOT TURDS

Simply put, GM is for once ahead of the other major automakers- even the likes of Toyota and Nissan- when it comes to their EV program. Their strategy took awhile to get going but they are making a lot of smart, long-term decisions. That they chose to come up with a universal chassis design that can be used for dozens of models, have made these chassis future-proof by anticipating major changes to battery technologies, and IMHO have succeeded in re-branding themselves as an EV automaker all points to good leadership from the likes of Mary Barra. I have no clue whats happening at Ford. Toyota seems hell-bent on hydrogen which will never work. Seems like BMW, Mercedes and Porsche are all chasing Tesla and ignoring the mainstream automakers.