Ford CEO Jim Farley said China is its biggest competitor in the electric vehicle market, as it seeks to compete with BYD, Geely, SAIC Motor and Great Wall Motor.
At the recent Morgan Stanley Sustainable Finance Summit, Farley spoke about concerns about Chinese brands taking global market share as they continue to launch “competitive new products”.
“They produce 70% of the electric vehicles in the world in China, 70. And the winners are BYD, Geely, Changan, SAIC, Great Wall,” Mr. Farley said.
“To beat them, you either have to have very distinct brands, which we think you do, or you have to beat them on cost. But how do you beat them in terms of cost if their scale is 5 times yours? So I do not know.
“The Chinese are going to be the powerhouse, I think, we think. So I think we see the Chinese as the main competitor, not GM or Toyota.
“The Europeans let them in. So now they are selling in large volume in Europe. We have a decision to make here in the United States”
The CEO seemed confident in his company’s understanding of what a customer is looking for.
He said customers would happily sacrifice a larger battery that costs more for a small battery which can be charged faster.
“Our industry is obsessed with big batteries because customers worry about range anxiety and really, we think the solution isn’t actually a big battery. It’s as small a battery as possible. for a competitive lineup,” he said.
In order to maintain its global presence alongside Chinese brands, Farley said the brand may consider using battery technology more creatively.
“I think it’s really important. And I don’t think competitors have figured that out yet,” he said.
Mr Farley said the next generation of its electrical products will be “radically different” and is expected within the next two years.
It appears alongside upcoming Chinese brands Ford is struggling to produce vehicles with cost-effective batteries.
Producing batteries from raw materials in the United States is the cheapest option, but it is very difficult to find based on a limited number of processing facilities.
“Well, the problem is that lithium is super abundant. The problem is that it takes 12 to 15 years just to be cleared,” he said.
“To get it out of the ground and then process it, there’s no processing capability in North America other than Tesla’s Corpus Christi site.”
Ford is expanding its range of electric vehicles, with electric versions of the Puma And Custom Transit coming in 2024. Both have been confirmed for Australia.
Ford also recently announced that it is preparing to launch a three-row electric SUV with 563km of range, teasing it alongside what appears to be its next-generation electric utility.
Both are expected to go into production in 2025.
Work is underway on Ford’s new Blue Oval City mega-campus in Tennessee, which will produce electric vehicles starting in 2025.
The new facility, when upgraded, is capable of producing 500,000 electric pickup trucks per year, more than three times the current planned annual rate for the F-150 Lightning.
Ford has already confirmed the rollout of two new EV architectures, including one for full-size pickups.