Ford splits EVs and legacy cars into separate units

People visit Ford’s all-electric SUV Mustang Mach-E at the 2019 Los Angeles Auto Show in Los Angeles, the United States, Nov. 22, 2019.

Xinhua via Getty Images

DETROIT – Ford Motor said Wednesday it will reorganize operations to separate its electric and internal-combustion engine businesses into separate units within the automaker.

The company expects the move will streamline its growing electric vehicle business and maximize profits .. It’s a similar strategy to how Ford is operating its Ford Pro commercial vehicle business under CEO Jim Farley’s “Ford +” turnaround plan.

“We’re going all in,” Farley said in a Wednesday morning statement announcing the reorganization.

Separating the operations but keeping them in-house goes halfway to appeasing some Wall Street analysts who have been pressuring legacy automakers such as Ford to spin off their electric vehicle operations to capture value that investors have been awarding some EV start-ups.

Shares of Ford were up roughly 4% during pre-market trading. The stock closed Tuesday at $ 16.70 a share, down by 4.9%.

‘Distinct businesses’

The EV business will be called “Ford Model e.” The traditional operations will be “Ford Blue.” Ford said they will “operate as distinct businesses but share relevant technology and best practices to leverage scale and drive operating improvements.”

The company plans to breakout financial results for the new units as well as its Ford + business by 2023, giving investors greater transparency into the operations.

“We are going all in, creating separate but complementary businesses that give us start-up speed and unbridled innovation in Ford Model E together with Ford Blue’s industrial know-how, volume and iconic brands like Bronco, that start-ups can only dream about , “Farley said.

The move follows Bloomberg News first reporting that Farley was evaluating whether to separate its EV and traditional business, including a potential spinoff. Farley last week said Ford had no plans to spin off either of the operations.

Ford’s plans follow a similar move by crosstown rival General Motors in late-2019 to largely split up its engineering of EVs and traditional vehicles. GM has said it does not have plans to spin off its EV business.

New leadership

The company said Farley will serve as president of Ford Model e, in addition to his roles as president and CEO of Ford.

Former Tesla and Apple executive Doug Field, who Ford hired last year, will lead Ford Model’s product creation as chief EV and digital systems officer.

The Ford Model e business will be responsible for all aspects of the automaker’s electric vehicle operations. That includes designing and creating future EV technologies, parts and services such as dedicated vehicle platforms, batteries, e-motors, inverters, charging and battery recycling.

Model e also will lead buying and ownership experience for its future electric vehicle customers that includes “simple, intuitive e-commerce platforms, transparent pricing and personalized customer support.” The pricing aspect is key, as some dealers have significantly marked up prices for vehicles in high-demand, including the Mustang Mach-E electric crossover.

“This new structure will enhance our capacity to generate industry-leading growth, profitability and liquidity in this new era of transportation,” said Ford CFO John Lawler.

Ford veteran Kumar Galhotra, who currently serves as president of the Americas & international markets, will lead Ford Blue, the automaker’s traditional business operations. He’ll also be tasked with cutting operating expenses and waste from the operations – a main mission of Farley’s turnaround plan.

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