Ford to refocus its efforts on SUVs, electrified vehicles and connected services


The company has similarly aggressive plans for China and other markets, as 90 percent of Ford's new global vehicles will feature connectivity by 2020. It's a clear hint as to where Hackett is likely to take Ford - and another sign that the industrywide push toward electric vehicles might finally have hit a tipping point. That contrasts with GM's pledge the previous day to sell 20 electric cars globally by 2023.

While those may seem to be very different sorts of products, a key goal for Hackett's team will be commonizing more of the underlying platforms and components while reducing the number of "top hats", or bodies.

Said Deep, Global Communications Manager at Ford, said that the Detroit-based Team Edison "will orchestrate work with existing electrification teams in the regional business units and with engineering teams already working on Ford electrified vehicles".

The update follows a four month investigation into Ford's business operations and seeks to transform the automaker into a leaner and more profitable company.

Hackett on Tuesday presented his 5-year strategy which attempts to improve the "fitness" of Ford in this changing landscape. The company has confirmed the formation of a new team internally dedicated to accelerating the company's electrification plans, dubbed 'Team Edison'. He mentioned some of the alliances of Ford made worldwide like Ford's partnership with Mahindra an Indian automaker or with Zotye a Chinese electric vehicle maker or with a ride services company Lyft to arrange future self-driving Fords. 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.

The majority of those savings will disappoint up on Ford's bottom line until 2019 and 2020, Hackett and other Ford executives stated, showing the market's long product engineering lead times. Ford can differentiate itself by offering, say, connected commercial vans that help small businesses keep track of their deliveries.

Former CEO Mark Fields had begun moving Ford in that direction, but he was ousted for Hackett in part because of a sense that he wasn't moving quickly enough - and that he hadn't clearly spelled out the profit opportunities for Ford that would result from its investments in new technologies.

The American auto manufacturer will also launch no less than 13 new electric vehicles in the next five years. Ford has not budged on the $4.5 billion it has set aside for EV development over the next five years according to a report by Reuters. Under Hackett's vision, that'll drop to just 96.