Back in March, Ford released some very important information about how it plans to keep its company not only alive, but successful, during the transition to EVs. While I’ve mentioned this strategy briefly in another article, our commander-in-chief here at CleanTechnica wanted us to cover this again in its own post so that we can make sure our readers are up to speed on Ford’s future, as well as to go into greater detail on this important topic.
The Ford+ Plan
All of the major companies seem to be offering a “plus” version of their services these days. Walmart+ gives you delivery and other things. Disney+ gives you access to most of the Disney catalog going back decades as well as exclusive new content. Now, Ford is doing it with Ford+. Like all of the others, Ford’s “plus” is going to be different, because Ford isn’t Walmart or Disney. But what does that actually mean?
What we’ve heard several times is that Ford wants to focus on “digital electric vehicles,” which sounds like GM’s recent focus on “software defined vehicles,” which I discussed in another article, right? While it may be a cliche buzzword, the idea that mainstream manufacturers are trying to figure out is that cars need better user-facing software to compete in today’s world. This is important, but we don’t know much else about Ford+.
Fortunately, a video from Ford and some past press releases gave us all of the in-depth information EV fans crave.
“This isn’t the first time Ford has reimagined the future and taken our own path,” said Ford Executive Chair Bill Ford, in the company’s press releases. “We have an extraordinary opportunity to lead this thrilling new era of connected and electric vehicles, give our customers the very best of Ford, and help make a real difference for the health of the planet.”
Getting there is the challenge, but Ford has a plan to actually make it happen: Ford+. Unlike Kirby Paint and Tile Plus, though, the Plus doesn’t stand for bathroom fixtures. It basically stands for Ford doing what it does and adding to it. So, in the beginning, the “plus” is for EVs. This may sound like a bad strategy, and maybe even avoiding the transition altogether, but how the money flows and what the “plus” stands for over time is what sets it apart from a big car company with a dinky EV side project.
From the press release:
“We have made tremendous progress in a short period of time. We have launched a series of hit products globally and demand for our new EVs like F-150 Lightning and Mustang Mach-E is off the charts,” Farley said. “But our ambition with Ford+ is to become a truly great, world-changing company again, and that requires focus. 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.”
“Ford Model e will be Ford’s center of innovation and growth, a team of the world’s best software, electrical and automotive talent turned loose to create truly incredible electric vehicles and digital experiences for new generations of Ford customers,” Farley said.
“Ford Blue’s mission is to deliver a more profitable and vibrant ICE business, strengthen our successful and iconic vehicle families and earn greater loyalty by delivering incredible service and experiences. It’s about harnessing a century of hardware mastery to help build the future. This team will be hellbent on delivering leading quality, attacking waste in every corner of the business, maximizing cash flow and optimizing our industrial footprint.”
Ford Model e and Ford Blue will operate semi-independently to support one another, as well as Ford Pro. (Ford Pro is focused on delivering a comprehensive experience for commercial and government customers that includes access to both electric and gas vehicles, along with software, charging capabilities, financing options, services, and support for both Ford products and non-Ford products.) Additionally, Ford Model e and Blue will assist in powering mobility experiences through Ford Drive.
Put More Simply
Let’s make this even more simple: the fundamental idea is that Ford Blue is going to be a big moneymaker selling emotional vehicles, and that money is going to get funneled toward Model e, the part of Ford that drives innovation and clean vehicles. Basically, Bronco and Mustang sales are going to pay for Ford’s transition.
Ford says its innovative Model e division will have the following goals:
Attract and retain the top software, engineering, design, and user experience professionals. Perfect new technologies and concepts that may be implemented across the Ford corporation.
Specialize in helping brands launch innovative, high-volume electric and connected products and services for retail, commercial, and shared mobility.
To create ground-up, game-changing electric vehicles, you’ll need to master the following technologies and capabilities: EV platforms, batteries, e-motors, inverters, charging and recycling.
Create the software platforms and networked vehicle architectures that will allow for delightful, always-on, and ever-improving vehicles and experiences.
Provide its future electric vehicle customers with an engaging, new shopping, purchasing, and ownership experience that includes simple, intuitive e-commerce platforms, transparent pricing, and personalized customer service from Ford ambassadors.
Ford Blue will adapt these best practices to enhance the experience of its ICE customers and deliver new levels of customer connectivity and satisfaction. Ford Blue will also:
With support for new cars, derivatives, experiences and services, Ford can strengthen the popular vehicles like as F-Series, Ranger, and Maverick trucks, Bronco and Explorer SUVs, and Mustang that its customers adore.
Customized brand and vehicle experiences, from off-roading to performance to family activities, particularly for those circumstances when ICE capabilities are required.
Ford Model e’s software and embedded systems power new, connected, customized, and always-on experiences for customers.
Make quality and exceptional service reasons to choose and stay with Ford.
Reduce product, manufacturing, and quality expenses by eliminating waste.
Depend on Ford Model e and Ford Pro’s top-of-the-line engineering, purchasing, manufacturing, and vehicle test and development capabilities for globally recognized safety standards, unbelievable comfort while riding , minimal noise levels.
That’s A Bold Strategy, Cotton …
If this was discussed on social media, someone would probably throw this meme into the mix:
We can make predictions all day about how this will work out, but the truth is we’re in uncharted waters. The only way we can see if Ford’s multiple personality plan for adopting EVs and transitioning toward them will work out is to wait and see. Ford’s current sales of vehicles in all sectors can give it a good platform to jump from, so it’s definitely possible.
Featured image by Ford.
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