Ford to stake future on trucks and electrification

How Ford Will Join the Electric-Car Revolution

How Ford Will Join the Electric-Car Revolution

He also hired a company outsider, Jason Luo, to lead Ford's business in China, the world's largest auto market, where Ford is revamping operations and looking to expand partnerships in electric vehicles. The review of its China operations, part of a broader strategy re-think under new CEO Jim Hackett, will likely see Ford focus on electric commercial vans, which China is encouraging in its polluted and congested city centres, as well as electric cars.

A current Ford Focus, for example, can be had in 360 different combinations of engines, transmissions, colors, trim lines and so on.

There's little doubt at this point that electric cars are the future, but how do you get to that future as quickly as possible? Hackett indicated $7bn (£5.3bn) would be committed towards the latter categories, which proved to be some of the company's most successful products previous year and were the main driver of growth in sales in the North American market. In August, Ford said it was considering a joint venture with Anhui Zotye Automobile Co to build electric vehicles in China under a new brand, tapping Zotye's low-priced electric-vehicle (EV) technology.

Hackett, who only became the company's CEO in May, said making the carmaker leaner and more flexible will help it handle the challenges facing the industry - everything from car-sharing to self-driving vehicles and the shift to electric cars.

In what may have been a veiled slight aimed at Tesla, (which frequently updates its semi-autonomous Autopilot software, both enhancing and restricting its features at times, ) Hackett said Ford won't use its customers as test subjects for autonomous technology.

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Hackett said the decision to change was "not easy - culturally or operationally", adding "I feel a real sense of urgency for what we're doing here".

Ford's new CEO has his eye on the prize. Crosstown Detroit rival General Motors already has 7 million vehicles on the road with wi-fi capability after introducing the technology in 2015. "Ultimately, though, we must accept the virtues that brought us success over the past century are really no guarantee of future success".

Hackett and other Ford executives believe that the savings would not be noticeable in the account details of Ford initially but will show up by 2019 and 2020. Ford sunk below Tesla market value earlier this year, even though it earned $4.6 billion in 2016 and Tesla has never made a full-year profit.

Ford also reaffirmed 2017 financial guidance it gave in July and said it would provide a new 2018 forecast in January. GM, for instance, just announced that it'll have 20 electric vehicle models by 2023.

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