What an absolute mess.
If you haven’t been paying attention, and you’re forgiven if that’s the case, Ford has been in quite the financial bind for the past several years. Of course the big corporate media outfits have been doing their job making Ford look good by focusing heavily on the Mach-E and F-150 Lightning, which are constantly promoted as “the future of the automotive industry.” But underneath that veneer is a muddled mess which could ultimately bring down the Blue Oval.
See how grandma hid a Countach from the family here.
Over the past several years, Ford has struggled with profits. For example, in Q1 of 2022 the automaker posted a $3.1 billion loss, which it blamed on the chip shortage and Rivian’s struggles, a startup EV company in which it holds a significant investment. And while August sales punched to 158,088 units for 27% year-over-year growth, there’s still plenty of trouble on the horizon as well as below the surface.
Ford CFO John Lawler was in attendance for the Detroit Auto Show last week, where he proudly declared to journalists the company’s goal is to overtake Tesla in sales. That’s quite the task considering Tesla still absolutely dominates the EV market, and Lawler did admit it wouldn’t be an easy feat the company would achieve quickly. Still, the automotive and mainstream media did its job by eagerly applauding such declarations and Ford’s bold push into the EV market.
The plan, according to Ford vice president of electric vehicle industrialization Lisa Drake, is to pump out two million EVs by the end of 2026. Considering Tesla delivered 936,000-plus cars in 2021, almost doubling its figure from 2020, that kind of pace wouldn’t help Ford overtake Tesla if the past helps predict future growth.
At the same time, CEO Jim Farley is trying to emphasize Ford isn’t pulling back on the development of internal combustion engines. While talking to media at the Detroit Auto Show, he cited the 2024 Mustang lineup as an example of the automaker’s continued dedication to gas-powered cars. He even told Fox Business, “I find it intriguing that we’re portraying the future of our industry as monolithic. That’s not how it goes. That’s not how it’s going to manifest itself.”
Here’s the thing, the next-generation Mustang has an updated powertrain, not something completely new. That speaks to minimal investment in ICE technologies. There’s nothing revolutionary about the Coyote V8 used in these cars. Meanwhile, Ford is laying off thousands of employees to trim costs so it can invest more heavily in EV development. While Farley might try to portray a balanced approach moving forward, it’s the company’s actions which indicate where Ford believes the market is going.
As has been the case for the past few years, all indications are internally Ford is a hot mess. It sounds like plenty of infighting is going on, even as the company splits its EV and ICE teams, probably to minimize conflict. But where there are limited resources, conflict is inevitable.
Ford might pull this transition off, but I’ll be honest, right now it doesn’t look horribly organized or cohesive. While competitors like Tesla are moving in a more definitive and logical direction, once again Ford is trying to be everywhere at once, which hasn’t netted great results before.
Images via Ford