Keeping up with the industry’s fast push to electrify vehicles and produce more trucks and SUVs, Ford Motor Company’s new CEO Jim Hackett said Tuesday the automaker would boost development funds for new electric vehicles, while cutting money spent on cars and internal combustion engines.
Hackett, who was put in charge as president and CEO in May after heading up Ford Smart Mobility, has spent four months evaluating Ford’s position as an automaker and transportation company. It comes at a time when Ford is pushing its mobility solutions, but still lags behind rivals such as General Motors in terms of autonomous technologies, partnerships and electric vehicle development. Just today, General Motors pledged to launch at least 20 all-electric vehicles by 2023.
“When you’re a long-lived company that has had success over multiple decades the decision to change is not easy – culturally or operationally,” Hackett said Tuesday in a news release. “Ultimately, though, we must accept the virtues that brought us success over the past century are really no guarantee of future success.”
Ford will focus on “smart and connected” vehicles that will, “thrive in a new transportation operating system,” according to the presentation. The company says it will offer internet connectivity on all of its U.S.-bound models by 2019 and in 90 percent of its vehicles sold worldwide by 2020.
These new vehicles Ford intends to bring to market will benefit from more money towards electrification resources, on top of a previously announced $4.5-billion investment that will bring models such as an F-150 hybrid, Mustang hybrid and full EV around 2020.
While Ford says it will still be in the business of building cars, more of its attention will go towards leveraging partnerships for other forms of transportation initiatives. Tuesday’s presentation comes on the heels of a tie-up with Lyft for autonomous vehicle research and the $1-billion investment in Argo. And all this comes at the company wants to use simplified production methods to save money on the cars it does build.
Ford still has some catching up to do with a number of automakers that have pledged to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to investing in alternative fuels and figuring out which transportation paths to take in the coming decades. But Hackett seems to have received the memo that Ford needed to make some bold moves before it fell way behind its competitors.