Ford faces a difficult situation as it aims to become a dedicated BEV manufacturer in Europe
On 12 June 2023, Ford opened a BEV plant in Cologne, Germany, and celebrated the occasion with Chancellor Scholz. The plant will produce the BEV Explorer (estimated price around EUR 45,000) and, from 2024, a sports crossover; Ford aims to launch nine models including these on the European market by 2030 and to become a dedicated BEV manufacturer in the same year.
However, the road ahead is not easy: Ford has set a target of an 8% profit margin for its BEV business (Model e), but in the first quarter of 2023, the BEV business recorded a global loss of USD 722 million. To return to profitability, Ford must reduce costs and improve product appeal, but the Ford Explorer platform is an MEB provided by its alliance partner VW, which limits what it can do on its own Ford is also developing its own platform separate from the MEB, but it is not clear when this will be introduced. is not certain. In the meantime, Chinese companies are entering the small entry-price segment, which has been Ford’s forte, one after another. Ford’s market share in Germany fell from 7.8% in 2019 to 5.0% in 2022. There are even rumours that Ford is selling its Saarland plant to BYD due to its difficulties.
Ford is also struggling in China, where sales fell 33.5% year-on-year to 496,000 units in 2022, resulting in a loss of USD 570 million. There are also reported plans to restructure a total of 1,300 employees at the Chinese subsidiary and the R&D centre in Nanjing.
In the past, Ford was a leader in the fuel-efficiency race with its EcoBoost engine and downsizing, but it has been caught in the wave of electrification and is becoming less and less present.