Ford has gotten much more serious about going electric in the past few years, and that is more evident in Europe this week as Ford Otosan takes over the Craiova Manufacturing Plant in Romania and aims to invest half a billion dollars into it to bring it into the bright clean electric future.
Ford Otosan will be investing €490 million ($498 million) in the factory in the coming three years to focus on more electrified models and to expand production capacity.
The first Ford model to be produced at the factory will not be an electric model. It will be the Next-gen Transit Courier, in 2023. However, all-electric versions will be produced there starting in 2024. Ford Otosan needs time to equip its plant appropriately and line up the right supply chains for more electric models.
Ford Otosan will continue producing the Ford Puma, a popular model in Europe, at the factory, and then will add in the new all-electric Puma in 2024. The plugin hybrid Kuga is currently a huge hit in Europe, even taking the #1 spot among plugin vehicles in Germany in May and the #2 across the whole European plugin market in May. An all-electric version of the Puma should also be very popular.
As can be clear from the highlighted initial models for production expansion, Ford is focused here on commercial vehicles and electrification. The commercial vehicle angle, in particular, is interesting, especially since the electric options in that market are not extensive or sold in high volumes. “Ford is leveraging strategic partnerships to better utilise resources by sharing investments and benefitting from a wider pool of expertise thereby boosting its electric and commercial vehicle capacity in Europe,” said Stuart Rowley, chair, Ford of Europe.
A bit further north, Ford is investing even more into electrification efforts. It is conducting a $2 billion (€1.97 billion) conversion of a factory in Cologne, Germany, and will produce electric passenger vehicles in that plant starting in 2023.
And then there’s the recent news that Ford chose a site in Valencia, Spain, to assemble vehicles using the company’s next-generation electric vehicle architecture, and later in the decade perhaps fully produce electric vehicles.
Ford intends to sell 600,000 electric vehicles a year in Europe in 2026, and 2 million EVs globally in that year. It’s longer-term target is 100% electric vehicle sales in Europe by the middle of the next decade. Consider the announcements this year as phase one of that target. “This initiative will support Ford’s strategy to continue building a thriving business in Europe and to deliver against the target of zero emissions for all vehicle sales and carbon neutrality across its European footprint of facilities, logistics and suppliers by 2035.”
So, this is another automaker that got the memo: the future of the automotive market is electric, and the future is coming fast in Europe.
Overall, I think once Ford decided to get serious about electrification and set up “Team Edison” to create truly compelling electric models, the old-school Detroit automaker made an important and innovative shift into the future. Don’t count out the USA’s oldest automaker to have not gone bankrupt.
Related story: “Ford Sets EV Sales Record, Again.”
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