Ford Starts Development Of Cost-Effective EV Platform

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Ford is set to expand its EV portfolio with a new, affordable electric vehicle platform, challenging Tesla and Chinese competitors head-on. With a strategic eye on India, Ford’s innovative endeavours and potential market re-entry signal a bold step towards global electric mobility leadership.

Ford is gearing up to introduce a new electric vehicle (EV) platform targeting the more affordable segment of the market, aiming to compete with entry-level offerings from Tesla and various Chinese manufacturers worldwide.

During an earnings call, Ford’s CEO Jim Farley revealed the existence of a previously undisclosed “skunkworks team” dedicated to crafting this innovative EV platform. Operating independently from Ford’s traditional structure like a “startup” for the past two years, this platform is designed to be versatile, supporting a range of EVs, particularly those in the budget-friendly market tier. Although Farley did not provide specific details about the platform, he emphasized its focus on producing low-cost EVs and noted the tendency of EV purchasers to stick with electric vehicles despite the high initial costs slowing the adoption rate.

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This initiative aims to compete with “affordable Tesla models and Chinese EV brands,” identified by Farley as key rivals in the EV sphere. By lowering the prices of its electric vehicles worldwide, Ford intends to make them more competitive. Presently, Tesla’s Model Y undercuts Ford’s Mach-E in price, and the Model 3 sedan is even more affordable. Despite the higher price tag, Ford has yet to profit from the Mach-E. The new cost-effective EV platform is part of Ford’s strategy to turn this around and start generating profits.

Regarding Ford’s operations in India, recent activities have sparked discussions about the company’s potential comeback. Ford has recently filed a patent in India for its latest-generation Endeavour SUV and has posted several job openings, besides reconsidering the sale of its Chennai plant, hinting at a renewed interest in the Indian market.

Ford previously operated two facilities in India—a Sanand plant that was sold to Tata Motors in 2022 and a Chennai facility which was initially offered for sale but was ultimately retained by Ford despite receiving proposals from various Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) such as Vinfast, MG, and Tata Motors. The Chennai plant had already cleared all regulatory hurdles for its sale, and worker compensation issues had been resolved, indicating that either the sale or, as it now seems, a revival of Ford’s operations there could proceed without significant obstacles. Given that the Chennai plant was engaged in the production of the earlier version of the Endeavour, which shares some components with the new-generation SUV, the transition to manufacturing the updated Endeavour is expected to be straightforward.

Thus, the possibility of Ford resuming sales in India had been considered likely. Even after halting vehicle sales, Ford continued to operate some service functions and actively promoted service and warranty packages. Unlike General Motors, which opted to leave the Indian market to concentrate on strategic areas, Ford preferred not to exit India. However, the collapse of its partnership with Mahindra left the company with no other choice.

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