Ford accelerates the transition to the SUV


by Paul Lienert and Joseph White

DEARBORN, Michigan (Reuters) – Ford (NYSE:F) introduced Thursday an ambitious plan to transition to the SUV but also the hybrid and electric vehicles to reduce its costs of development and production and thereby improve its results.

In a presentation at a research centre near the group’s headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan, the general director Jim Hackett said that the goal in an official margin of 8% was now upside potential.” The leaders of the group noted, however, that the measures announced would take full effect in 2020.

The action has finished up 0.45% to 11,07 dollars to Wall Street, erasing an initial decline.

Ford is in its second transition of magnitude in 10 years on the background of rapid transformation of the automotive market with the digital revolution and the development of electric cars and autonomous control. Its competitor General Motors (NYSE:GM) announced Thursday an investment of 100 million dollars (81 million euros) in two of its factories in the suburbs of Detroit to launch the commercial production of robots-taxi Chevrolet Bolt.

Ford plans to transfer seven billion dollars of investments for the benefit of the SUV, and intends to commercialize by 2020 eight new models in the United States, including a model of electric high performance and the other five that will have a hybrid, said executive vice president Jim Farley during the presentation.

After the transition, SUV’s and pick-ups will account for 86% of volume sales of Ford in North America, the share of cars is reduced to 14%. Symbolically, on the nine future vehicles presented Thursday to the press, only one was a car – a Mustang-art.

The pick-ups F-series from Ford have generated $ 41 billion of sales last year, or 28% of its total 145,7 billion, and accounted for the bulk of its profits.

Among the new SUV are two models to square lines designed to compete with the Jeep in Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (NYSE:FCAU).

Ford also intends to challenge Tesla with an electric vehicle to high performance, the first of the six models is fully electric which is planned for launch in 2022 within the framework of an investment of $ 11 billion announced in January at the Detroit auto Show.

“This vehicle will the a without it being necessary to run in space,” said Jim Farley, referring to the convertible-red-Elon Musk recently put into orbit by a rocket of SpaceX.

To reduce its costs, Ford expects to reduce by 20% the development time of new models, and just five platforms flexible.

With the introduction of these new products, the manufacturer hopes to regain the trust of investors after a difficult year.

The Stock price of Ford underperformed GM since the taking of office of Jim Hackett on may 22.

The title reached a peak 13.23 dollars in mid-January, before diving in for 10.14 $ at the beginning of march.

(Véronique Tison for the French service)

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