Ford shifts strategy by delaying full electric transition in Europe by 2030.

Ford postpones ambitious electric vehicle targets.

In February 2021, Ford revealed intentions to exclusively offer electric cars in Europe by 2030. Yet, due to the slower uptake of EVs than anticipated, the company is now adjusting its original proposal. The updated plan leaves open the possibility of continuing to sell vehicles with combustion engines into the upcoming decade if there is sufficient demand.

Ford of Europe’s General Manager Martin Sander was quoted by Automotive News Europe as saying that ICE could still be around in the 2030s. Sander stated, “If we see strong demand, for instance for plug-in hybrid vehicles, we will offer them.” While speaking at the Financial Times Future of the Car summit in London this week, Sander acknowledged that demand for EVs has been “softer” than Ford had initially anticipated.

Ford has been getting ready for a fully electric range of passenger cars in the past years. Surprisingly, production of the Mondeo was halted on April 4, 2022, at the factory in Valencia, Spain. The EcoSport was gradually phased out in December 2022 from the Craiova plant in Romania. Furthermore, the Fiesta was discontinued on July 7, 2023, at its location in Cologne, Germany. The S-Max/Galaxy minivan said goodbye in April 2023 as the final units were manufactured at the Almussafes factory in Valencia.

In the upcoming year, the final production of the Focus will take place in Saarlouis, Germany. Martin Sander recently confirmed to Autocar that the discontinuation of the Focus in 2025 is definite. Currently, the once popular model in Ford’s range is only available in three body styles: hatchback, sedan, and wagon.

What solutions is Ford implementing to address the gaps in its reduced European range? An all-electric model of the Puma small crossover is set to be unveiled later this year. The Gen-E version of the Puma will be manufactured at Ford’s Craiova facility in Romania. Furthermore, an emission-free Explorer based on Volkswagen’s MEB platform is scheduled to start production in June at the Cologne plant.

The debut of the electric SUV was postponed because of the implementation of a new European standard for electric vehicles (UN Regulation 100.3/ ECE-R 100.3). Another Ford electric vehicle based on the same platform as the VW ID.4 is set to be revealed in the coming month. This upcoming model may resemble the ID.5 with a sporty roofline and could potentially bring back the iconic “Capri” name.

Competitors in Europe have distinctive strategies. The Volkswagen Group retains a wide range of cars with internal combustion engines, varying from the compact Polo/Ibiza/Fabia to the larger Passat/Superb or the Tiguan/Kodiaq, along with the more luxurious Touareg. Likewise, Stellantis provides a diverse selection of models powered by traditional engines, spanning from the 208/Corsa supermini to the medium-sized 508 liftback/wagon, including many crossovers and SUVs within that range.

Certain companies are continuing to offer A-segment vehicles for sale, such as the Toyota Aygo, Hyundai i10, and the Kia Picanto. Ford also used to have a vehicle in this category, but the Ka+ was discontinued in September 2019, following a trend of models being phased out in Europe. The US market has also seen simplification with the discontinuation of the Fiesta, Focus, and Fusion.

Ford has taken a significant gamble by discontinuing some of its key models, banking on the success of EVs. The lukewarm reception to electric cars is causing doubts about the company’s decision. Rivals have not phased out their conventional vehicles, providing consumers looking for gas-powered cars with many options.

What is Ford’s position now? While the Puma and Kuga (known as Escape in the US) enjoy significant popularity, there exists a considerable demand for hatchbacks, sedans, and wagons among consumers. Unfortunately, these potential customers will need to consider alternative brands.

1 Comment

  1. Today, I went to the beachfront with my children. I found a sea shell and gave it to my 4 year old daughter and said “You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear.” She put the shell to her ear and screamed. There was a hermit crab inside and it pinched her ear. She never wants to go back! LoL I know this is totally off topic but I had to tell someone!

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