When Ford CEO Jim Farley split the company’s passenger car business into two segments—one for electric vehicles and one for gasoline cars—Farley put himself in charge of the electric vehicle business, a division called Model e. The assumption among a lot of industry watchers was that the person running the gasoline car business, then, was there to nurse this moribund technology during its later years.
Except it’s not dying, said Kumar Galhotra, president of Ford Blue, Ford’s internal combustion vehicle division. On the contrary, he said, he is prosperous.
“For someone who might be nursing, I spend a lot of my time and invest in expansion [production] The ability to accommodate all of our Ford Blue vehicles. “For me, the Ford Blue is a growth story.”
Essentially, by keeping a steady footing in the world of internal combustion, Ford is taking advantage of customers who are losing access to gas-powered vehicles from other automakers even while Ford itself is introducing new EV models.
Ford just revealed a new Mustang coupe that, in particular, isn’t electric or even a hybrid. The new two-door Ford Mustang was capable of it Ford executives said the company will remain entirely gas-operated as the company achieves its emissions goals with the help of electric vehicles, such as the Mustang Mach-E SUV, and hybrids such as the Ford Escape PHEV. (Hybrids are also included in the blue Ford section of the Galhotra.)
There is still a market for internal combustion performance, Galhotra said, and Ford has decided to serve customers who still want it. Meanwhile, Stellantis has announced that it will discontinue production of the Dodge Challenger Coupe and related Dodge Charger in 2023.
“In this particular segment, in the Mustang, although this segment may shrink, there is a lot of speculation that our competitors may be leaving this segment,” he said. “So even though the sector in the industry is shrinking, we can grow.”
Unlike General Motors, which has publicly stated that it plans to sell only zero-emissions cars by 2035, Ford has not set a deadline for manufacturing and selling gas-powered cars. While Ford has had some success with electric cars like the Mustang Mach-E and F-150 Lightning, it sells alongside gas-powered models in the same market segments. Ford also sells hybrid models and plug-in hybrids, while General Motors has said it will jump directly to electric vehicles.
Galhotra said Ford is focusing its gas-powered vehicles in three broad areas that include all models sold by Ford. These are enthusiast cars like the Mustang and Bronco off-road SUVs, general-purpose SUVs like the Ford Escape and Explorer, and of course trucks like the F-Series and Maverick. In these areas, he said, Ford is still looking for new areas to explore, as is the case with the Bronco and Maverick, a pickup truck with similar geometry to the car. Both models were recently introduced in sectors that Ford had not previously competed in and they perform well.
We can’t make enough Mavericks,” Galhotra said. “We are completely sold out.”
He said the majority of customers for both the Bronco and the smaller Bronco Sport are new to Ford. About 60% of Ford Bronco buyers have not recently owned a Ford vehicle. That’s close to the so-called “invasion rates” of Ford electric cars like the Mustang Mach-E and Ford F-150 Lightning electric truck. But Ford sold more than 75,000 Broncos and more than 71,000 Bronco Sports in the first eight months of 2022 compared to about 26,000 Mustang Machs. Likewise, Ford sold nearly 50,000 Mavericks and most buyers of that pickup truck are also new to Ford.
To maintain sales growth, Galhotra said Ford can continue to spend and expand its various model lines. The Bronco is already a family of models, including the full-size Bronco SUV and the smaller Bronco Sport. Each also has a variety of special editions such as Heritage models. Ford successfully employed a similar strategy with the Mustang, creating seemingly endless variants, from the $27,000 four-cylinder Ecoboost Mustang to the $80,000-strong Shelby GT 500 that’s 760 horsepower.
“I see the potential for the Maverick to, one day, become a family,” Waha said.
Obviously, at some point, gasoline-powered vehicles will be phased out, as Galhotra allowed. But it’s not clear when that will be, and with other automakers shifting toward offering electric cars only, Ford has an opportunity to increase sales from drivers. Galhotra said he is not ready to make the switch. At the same time, of course, Ford will also show Electric car options for these He said who are ready.
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