Following the replacement of the company’s former CEO, and an accompanying change in strategy, Ford may now dive into the deep end when it comes to electric vehicles, according to recent reports.
To explain: a senior Ford exec in Germany has revealed that talks are underway that may see Ford help Deutsche Post DHL Group mass manufacture the all-electric vans that it so famously designed and developed in house (to the anger of Volkswagen execs, who had said that it wasn’t feasible to offer all-electric vans).
This news follows reports last month that Deutsche Post was looking into the possibility of expanding its partnership with Ford — unsurprisingly, it seems that those comments concern the possible wide rollout of the electric Streetscooter van. Talk of Ford manufacturing the vans popped up then, but we now have more details, or at least comments from a key Ford exec.
“We are looking at this in detail and pondering whether the number of units can be raised,” explained Gunnar Herrmann, the chairman of Ford of Germany.
“The demand is there, one now needs to look at how this business model can be moved into a different dimension,” he continued.
He also highlighted the need for genuine manufacturing expertise and improvement in order to bring down costs as much as possible. “Electric cars will only see their breakthrough if we produce (them) in an extremely cost-effective way. It would be difficult if we were to apply our customary production processes. One needs to be creative and take on a different perspective.” Interesting to hear it put like that by a major OEM.
Reuters provides more: “Advances in manufacturing software are allowing auto industry newcomers such as Deutsche Post, Google and start-ups to tap suppliers to design, engineer and test new vehicle concepts without hiring thousands of engineering staff or investing billions in tooling and factories.
“Deutsche Post initially developed the minivan for internal use and in response to growing inner-city transportation needs as online shopping results in more demand for parcel deliveries. But the Bonn-based group plans to seek another production site and double annual output to 20,000 vans by the end of the year. Herrmann said Ford is studying the conditions required to build the model in Germany.”
Those make for some interesting comments. Maybe Ford will manage to make the changes necessary to keep up with the rapidly changing auto market after all. So long as demand for pickup trucks remains constant, the company doesn’t really have much to worry about, but that situation won’t last forever, and an embrace of electric vehicles now would probably be sensible.