Ford Is Betting On Electric Commercial Vehicles

Illustration for article titled Ford Is Betting On Electric Commercial Vehicles
Illustration: Ford

An electric Ford F-150 is one thing, an electric Ford Transit is another. All that and more in The Morning Shift for October 29, 2020.


1st Gear: Focusing On Electric Commercial Vehicles

Ford is calling it the E-Transit, and will reveal the thing in full on November 12. It’s not the first time Ford has said an EV Transit is coming. Hell, Ford was saying in 2008 it’d bring one to market in 2010, talked it up again in early 2019 with a concept car, and previewed the current one a bit earlier this year.

“We’re betting on a full lineup of commercial electrified vehicles,” is how Ford CEO Jim Farley put it on the company’s third-quarter earnings call. (Not a bad call for Ford.) The main impetus for the project is the surging home deliveries business, as the Detroit Free Press notes:

As the home delivery business continues to surge amid the coronavirus pandemic, Ford Motor Co. plans to unveil on Nov. 12 its zero emission all-electric E-Transit, a green version of the top-selling cargo van.


“There’s been a lot written about the electrification of our industry,” Ford CEO Jim Farley said during a third quarter earnings call with analysts on Wednesday. “Ford’s bet is different. We’re betting on a full lineup of commercial electrified vehicles.”


The Ford Transit cargo vans saw a 12% spike in average transaction price to $43,275 during the third quarter, its highest in five years, according to Cox Automotive.

EVs theoretically work quite well in fleet situations. There’s always a fleet lot to charge in, there’s always somebody to manage charging itself and EVs don’t need a ton of maintenance. In practice, things are not always so rosy, so it’ll be a somewhat high-pressure situation for Ford to help make sure everything goes well with a rollout.

I look forward to buying a used one and naming it Evan the E-Van.

2nd Gear: Toyota Hits Production Record

What pandemic? Toyota is back up above its production level this time last year, as the Japan Times reports:

Toyota Motor Corp. said Thursday its global production in September hit a record high amid strong demand from China, indicating a recovery from the sales slump caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The global output of 841,915 vehicles for September, up 11.7% from a year earlier, also marked the first year-on-year increase in nine months.

Led by a 48.5% jump in China, the production figure was the highest level on record for September, according to the major automaker.

Toyota’s global sales also increased 1.9% to 837,049 units propelled by high demand in China, the world’s largest auto market, as well as the popularity of new models.

The company’s global output has been gradually trending towards a recovery after tumbling 54.4% in May amid the COVID-19 crisis. It reported a 6.7% fall in August and a 10.2% drop in July.


3rd Gear: VW Is Back To Profit, Almost Back To Normal Sales

VW almost matched its production levels from last year, but it still managed to make its way to a profit, as the Financial Times reports. It was only a few days ago that VW’s CEO was saying that his company and the auto industry, in general, wasn’t in need of stimulus anymore. Not wrong, by the looks of things at the moment, that’s for sure.


Per the Financial Times:

The world’s largest carmaker Volkswagen returned to profit in the third quarter thanks to a recovery in sales in western Europe and China.

The German group, which owns 12 brands including Audi, Porsche and Seat, delivered 2.6m vehicles during the quarter, just 1.1 per cent fewer than in the same period last year, although total sales in 2020 so far have fallen by more than a fifth.

After posting a loss of €1.4bn for the first six months of the year in the wake of factory closures and widespread lockdowns, the group reported pre-tax profits of €3.6bn for the three months to the end of September.


“Depending on the future course of the pandemic, we are cautiously optimistic that we will be able to continue to stabilise our business in the remaining months of the year,” said Frank Witter, VW’s chief financial officer.

“We do not assume at the moment that there will be comprehensive lockdowns in our largest markets,” he later told journalists, adding that the new measures announced in Europe would not affect production. 


These are still big assumptions, but we’ll see how they play out.

4th Gear: Toyota Adds 1.57 Million Vehicles To Its Fuel Pump Recall

Toyota’s whole business plan is that its cars are ceaselessly reliable and trustworthy, so it’s worrying that it dropped the ball here, as CNET’s Roadshow reports:

On Wednesday, Toyota announced that it would be expanding its already sizable recall for bad fuel pumps in its and sister brand Lexus’ vehicles by an additional 1.57 million units. The recall has already been expanded several times in 2020. The total number of cars being recalled at this point is around 3.34 million.


There is a fix and it’s free at your Toyota dealer.

5th Gear: VW Recalls More Than 218,000 Jettas Over Fuel Leak

I feel less surprised about VW having a giant recall, but these are the top producing car companies in the world. Some errors are to be expected. You just don’t want ones that can cause fires, as the Associated Press reports:

Volkswagen is recalling more than 218,000 Jetta sedans in the U.S. to fix a fuel leak problem that can cause fires.

The recall covers certain cars from the 2016 through 2018 model years.

Volkswagen says in documents posted Wednesday by U.S. safety regulators that bolts holding some high-pressure tubing can come loose over time, allowing fuel to leak and increasing the risk of a fire.

The German automaker hasn’t figured out yet what it will do to fix the problem, but it expects to start notifying owners around Dec. 20. Affected vehicles have 1.4-liter engines built from June 18, 2015 to Dec. 9, 2017.


Worrying that VW doesn’t yet have a fix for this!

Reverse: Wait, The Stock Market Can Crash?


Neutral: Have You Ever Driven An Electric Fleet Vehicle?

Every few years a car company makes an EV for fleets. The 90s were full of little ones. A neighbor of mine growing up even got his hands on an electric Ford Ranger. Have you ever driven one?

Raphael Orlove is features editor for Jalopnik.


Dubblewhopper- dubblewubble the fun!

Neutral: Does doing donuts at a golf course in a golf cart, while highly inebriated on rum and coke count?