Ford Is Talking Like The Anti-Tesla

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This is to say that Ford is exceedingly lame about EVs. Boring. Normal. In contrast to Tesla, as well as VW and GM, Ford is not making big claims about its electric car plans. All that and more in The Morning Shift for May 24, 2021.

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1st Gear: Ford Doesn’t Want To Put A Date On Going Full EV

GM is talking about going all-electric by 2035. Tesla is talking about self-driving cars that never come if it’s not talking about cars that will have rockets on them. VW has its own copycat of Tesla’s Battery Day announcements. The EV world, in the startup vein, lives and dies by hype. Look at Nikola, for example. Mainstream manufacturers have largely been following that lead, as EVs have been good so far at boosting stock prices but not turning a profit.

Aside from this stands Ford, which doesn’t even want to put a date on when it will go all-EV, as Automotive News reports:

While the company hasn’t set a target date as rivals, including General Motors, have, it’s on that path, said Kumar Galhotra, Ford’s president of the Americas and international markets group.

“I can easily see a point where we’d say, ‘Here’s the date where we’d be all-electric,’ “ he told Automotive News. “We’re certainly working toward it.”

Ford is doing all of the EV-related things, like stepping forward to manufacturing its own batteries, but it’s just not yet bought into hyping them like a startup. I don’t know if this is a good idea, but it’s a worthwhile contrast to the rest of the field.

2nd Gear: Jaguar Land Rover Is Loving The Chip Shortage

Low inventory and high profits at Jaguar Land Rover has it wishing the supply shortage would never end, as JLR’s North American CEO told Automotive News:

Eberhardt, CEO of JLR’s North American operations, says he never wants to go back to stocking 35,000 vehicles on the ground in the U.S., roughly a 90-day supply of Land Rover’s upscale light trucks and Jaguar’s luxury sedans and crossovers. Now, inventories of some of the company’s hottest-selling nameplates are at 10 days, Eberhardt said.

Speaking last week on the sidelines of a media event at a racetrack in the Detroit suburb of Pontiac, Eberhardt said low inventories combined with strong sales have Jaguar and Land Rover dealers banking some of the highest profits per vehicle they’ve ever seen, and custom orders for Range Rovers and other vehicles — often sold at full price — are now approaching 30 percent of forward sales.

“The challenge for us will be to accurately forecast what the real demand is, then have the discipline to actually flex the production once we have availability to be aligned,” he told Automotive News. “We don’t want to push cars in the market.”

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It is funny for JLR to be doing great during the chip shortage, since we know it is something that cannot last. Good luck, Jag!

3rd Gear: Everyone Else? Not So Much

The rest of the car world is less chuffed about not being able to build as many cars and trucks as it wants. Automotive News has a good roundup of the damage, highlighting Ford and Stellantis:

Ford Motor Co. and Stellantis accounted for most of the 151,000 vehicles taken out of North American production schedules last week as the chip shortage intensified across the globe, according to the latest industry report from AutoForecast Solutions.

Among the 93,000 Ford vehicles taken out of North American production schedules last week were 28,000 Escape compact crossovers (Louisville, Ky.); 35,000 F-Series pickups (Dearborn, Mich., and Kansas City, Mo.); 7,000 Edge midsize crossovers (Oakville, Ontario); and 6,500 Explorer crossovers (Chicago).

Stellantis took nearly 38,000 vehicles out of its North American production schedules, including 36,000 Jeep Cherokee SUVs (Belvidere, Ill.) and 1,100 Chrysler Voyager minivans and 900 Chrysler Pacifica minivans (Windsor, Ontario).

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4th Gear: Teslas Are Getting Barred From Government Complexes In China: Report

It’s hard to know how much stock to put in this news item as it stands, but it is interesting to see more anti-Tesla rhetoric coming from the Chinese government. Reuters has the story:

Staff at some Chinese government offices have been told not to park their Tesla Inc (TSLA.O) cars inside government compounds due to security concerns over cameras installed on the vehicles, two people with knowledge of the matter said.

The people said officials of at least two government agencies in Beijing and Shanghai have been instructed verbally by supervisors not to park their Tesla electric cars at work. It wasn’t clear how many cars were affected, the people said, declining to be identified due to the sensitivity of the matter.

It wasn’t immediately clear whether all government offices in Beijing have imposed such restrictions, nor whether the measure was a formal government injunction or a step adopted by agency officials. It was also unclear whether curbs applied to state agencies nationwide.

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5th Gear: U.S. Trying To Promote Sustainable Aviation Fuel

Congress just introduced a bill to give tax breaks to aviation fuel made from feedstocks. Here’s GreenCarCongress laying out the basics:

US Congressman Brad Schneider (IL-10) introduced the Sustainable Skies Act, new legislation to promote the transition to sustainable aviation fuel. Currently, air travel accounts for as much as 2.5% of global carbon emissions. The Sustainable Skies Act aims to cut aviation’s carbon emissions in half.

The bill, co-led by Reps. Dan Kildee (MI-05) and Julia Brownley (CA-26), is supported at introduction by climate groups such as the Environmental Defense Fund and the World Wildlife Fund, and by industry groups, such as United Airlines, Airlines for America, LanzaJet, and the Airline Pilots Association. The bill is also supported by Third Way, the Rocky Mountain Institute, and the Progressive Policy Institute. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) is expected to introduce a Senate companion bill in the coming days.

The legislation would create a tax credit starting at $1.50 per gallon for blenders that supply sustainable aviation fuel with a demonstrated 50% or greater lifecycle estimate reduction in greenhouse gas emissions compared to standard jet fuel.

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A simple way to cut pollution from our current era of cheap and plentiful air travel would be to cut cheap and plentiful air travel itself, but that would be too simple.

Reverse: Popular Monster Attraction Welcomes Traffic

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Neutral: What’s The Most Low-Key Automaker?

All automakers love hyping new cars to some degree, but there must be one that is the most low-drama. Which one do you think is the most understated?

Raphael Orlove is features editor for Jalopnik.

DISCUSSION

frankencamry
FrankenCamry

Ford and Toyota are both taking a very measured approach to EVs. We haven’t been talking about there being lithium or other material shortages on the horizon that make the chip shortage look mild, but they’re there. Having ICE units to move without running afoul of optimistic projections is a great insurance policy.

Under-hype and over-deliver won’t set the stock price on fire, but it’ll keep you in business long enough to absorb the property rights of a Nikola or two.