Ford's Big Electric Push Only Goes So Far

Illustration for article titled Ford's Big Electric Push Only Goes So Far
Photo: Ford

Ford is making an electric F-150, but its electric truck game only goes so far; Toyota is boosting production; and Volkswagen is very close to its emissions targets in Europe. All that and more in The Morning Shift for November 3, 2020.


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1st Gear: Ford Won’t Make Electric Super Duty Trucks

Ford has gotten some good press recently for its decision to champion California’s emissions rules and for announcing that it would make an electric version of its Transit van, a car which I am genuinely excited about. But if you were hoping for an electric Ford Super Duty truck, forget it.

From the Detroit Free Press:

Ford Motor Co. does not intend to build all-electric Super Duty pickup trucks, a top Ford executive told industry analysts Monday.

“At the moment, we do not have any plans to go into heavy duty with battery-electric vehicles,” said Kumar Galhotra, president, Americas and International Markets Group, during a forum hosted by Dan Levy of Credit Suisse.


Ford has discussed publicly its ambitious plan to build an all-electric Ford F-150 and all-electric Transit van in addition to the all-electric 2021 Mustang Mach-E SUV. But this latest morsel of information followed a question from the Credit Suisse analyst.

“Our goal is to build a profitable electric vehicle portfolio,” John Lawler, Ford chief financial officer, explained during the forum. “To do that, we need to leverage our strengths and the scale that we have. We’re being very strategic about the platforms that we choose.”

Ford is your successful liberal uncle who’s also the blandest person in the room. Generally nice, not too many complaints, you would also rather talk to probably anyone else, because for as excited as I am about the electric Transit, an electric Super Duty would be even cooler.

2nd Gear: Toyota Wants To Bounce Back Fast

It’s planning to ramp up production to record levels in the second half of 2020, according to The Japan Times.

Toyota Motor Corp. plans to produce around 4.6 million cars globally in the July to December period, which would be its highest output for the second half of a year, as it attempts to regain ground lost during the COVID-19 pandemic, sources familiar with the plan said Monday.

The firm hopes to see a 5% increase in output from a year earlier. Its previous record output of 4.53 million vehicles for the period was marked in 2015.

Toyota has informed its suppliers of the plan, the sources said.

The automaker produced 841,915 cars in September alone, the highest number for the month of September and up 11.7% from a year earlier, on growing production in the Chinese, North American and European markets.

The increase followed declines in July and August, and Toyota expects the recovery to continue after October, the sources said.


That’s a lot of cars!

3rd Gear: Fiat Chrysler Is Ready To Pay A Big Fine

The fine is over diesel emissions, after a failed effort by the Trump administration to limit penalties for automakers that don’t meet NHTSA emissions rules. Nature is healing, etc.


From Reuters:

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles disclosed it could face costs of up to 722 million euros ($840 million) to resolve a Justice Department investigation into excess diesel emissions and as a result of higher fuel economy penalties.

The automaker said the impact of a U.S. appeals court ruling in August overturning the Trump administration’s July 2019 rule that suspended a NHTSA regulation more than doubling penalties for automakers failing to meet fuel efficiency requirements could be significant.

FCA in a securities filing said the amounts “accrued could be up to 500 million euros ($581 million) depending on, among other things, our ability to implement future product actions or other actions to modify the utilization of credits.”

The automaker declined to comment Monday.

4th Gear: Volkswagen Also Dealing With Emissions Regulations

But these are in Europe. Herbert Diess, Volkswagen’s CEO, said that the automaker was close to complying with the rules there, which are really kicking in this year.


From the Financial Times:

Volkswagen will be within only “a gramme or so” of tough new EU carbon emission limits, according to chief executive Herbert Diess, even if it does not manage to sell as many low-emission vehicles as expected because of the pandemic.

Starting this year, carmakers in the EU must progressively lower average fleet emissions to 95g of CO2 per kilometre driven or face significant fines.

“We haven’t given up yet, but it will be very tight to achieve the fleet targets,” Mr Diess told the Financial Times. “There’s still a chance to get there,” he added, if sales of low-emission cars continued to pick up in the last months of the year.

The penalty for missing the target is €95 for each gramme per kilometre above the limit, multiplied by the number of newly registered vehicles in a year. This could leave VW with a bill of hundreds of millions of euros if it does not “pool” fleet emissions with another carmaker as the rules allow.


As ever, regulations (and gas prices) are the only true motivators for automakers to change.

5th Gear: Training Center In UAW Corruption Probe Is Sold

It will now be known as “The Icon.” You can read a whole lot more about how the training center figured in the scandal here. Suffice to say, the whole thing is an episode that the UAW and GM will want to forget. Selling the building is just the start.


From The Detroit News:

After getting caught up in a federal investigation into union corruption, the training center along the Detroit riverfront jointly owned by General Motors Co. and the United Auto Workers has been sold to two developers and will be renamed “The Icon.”

The sale of the 420,000-square-foot building on 18 acres at 200 Walker to a joint venture between Auburn Hills-based Moceri Cos. and Detroit-based 400 Monroe Associates closed last week, partner Dominic Moceri said. The developers expect to lease the building formerly housing the UAW-GM Center for Human Resources to a major business, government agency or university.


In March, more than 70 employees were laid off at the GM center because of its closure. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV also agreed to put up for sale its National Training Center building on Nine Mile in Warren. The automakers will provide other space to skill workers. The Detroit building housing the UAW-Ford National Program Center will continue to support training programs.

The property was constructed in the early 2000s and has a 900-space underground garage, full-service kitchen and dining area, 375-person auditorium, conference center, fitness center and eight-floor outdoor terrace overlooking the city and Detroit River.


Reverse: Laika


Neutral: How Are You?

I don’t have anything new or interesting to say about the election, other than that the choice will never—in this lifetime or the next—be more obvious.

News Editor at Jalopnik. 2008 Honda Fit Sport.


Idiot who sold e39 m5

1St: It’s good for Ford that Ford recognizes the limitations of EVs and the market segments they build trucks/cars in.