Wednesday morning, an iconic American company unveiled plans to transform its European strategy.
Ford is flipping the switch to “all-in” on the manufacturing of electric vehicles as it emerges from a massive restructuring and scaling down of its business.
The company said it is investing $1 billion in its Cologne, Germany, facility in order to drive its European arm toward only electric vehicle production in the coming years.
“Our announcement today to transform our Cologne facility, the home of our operations in Germany for 90 years, is one of the most significant Ford has made in over a generation,” Stuart Rowley, Ford of Europe’s president, said in a statement.
“It underlines our commitment to Europe and a modern future with electric vehicles at the heart of our strategy for growth,”
The ambitious plan immediately includes its entire menu of passenger vehicles in Europe — “zero-emissions capable, all-electric or plug-in hybrid” by the middle of 2026, with a “completely all-electric” offering by 2030.
Ford also targeted its European commercial vehicle production to be zero-emissions capable, plug-in hybrid or all-electric by 2024.
It’s an understandable gamble, since Ford is no longer near the top in Europe.
According to Bloomberg News, it has drawn back “more than $1 billion of structural costs over the past two years, closing five factories, selling another and eliminating more than 10,000 jobs. It fell behind Toyota Motor Corp. and Fiat Chrysler to rank ninth in passenger-vehicle sales last year, according to the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association.”
The trend toward EV is undeniable, led by Tesla and Elon Musk but followed closely by most carmakers.
“Consumers increasingly want us to go electric,” Ford Europe President Stuart Rowley said in an interview. “Our customers are very focused on sustainability and they want the brands and companies they work with to go on this journey with them.”