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Ford doubles down on electric vehicle push in Europe

Randy Mancini 3 Mar 14
Volkswagen unveils all-electric ID. Buzz, in Paris
FILE PHOTO: The ID. Buzz, iconic vehicle of the Volkswagen brand, is seen during its world premiere in Paris, France, March 9, 2022. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

March 14, 2022

By Christoph Steitz

FRANKFURT (Reuters) – U.S. carmaker Ford on Monday unveiled plans for seven new electric models in Europe, a battery-assembly site in Germany and a nickel cell manufacturing joint venture in Turkey as part of a major electric vehicle (EV) push on the continent.

“Our march toward an all-electric future is an absolute necessity for Ford to meet the mobility needs of customers across a transforming Europe,” said Stuart Rowley, chair of Ford of Europe.

Ford said it would introduce three new electric passenger vehicles and four new electric commercial vehicles in Europe by 2024, adding it plans to sell more than 600,000 EVs in the region by 2026.

This, Ford said, would help it reach its global goal of selling more than 2 million EVs a year and achieving an adjusted operating profit margin of 10% by 2026.

The strategy update for Europe comes shortly after Ford announced a $50 billion investment push to kick-start electrification that also includes running its EV unit separately from the group’s legacy combustion engine business.

As part of its push, Ford deepened its existing partnership with Volkswagen under which the U.S. carmaker will produce a second electric vehicle for the European market based on its German rival’s platform.

Ford will as a result double its planned volume of vehicles to be produced based on Volkswagen’s modular electric-drive platform, known as MEB, to 1.2 million units over a six-year timeframe.

This will include investments of $2 billion at Ford’s Cologne site in Germany as well as a new battery assembly facility scheduled to start operations in 2024.

Ford also said it has signed a non-binding memorandum of understanding with SK On Co, a unit of South Korea’s SK Innovation, and Turkey’s Koc Holding for a joint venture to manufacture high nickel NMC cells for assembly into battery array modules.

Under the strategy update, Ford Otosan, Ford’s joint venture with Koc Holding, will buy the U.S. carmaker’s plant in Craiova, Romania for 575 million euros ($630 million) to further boost electric and commercial vehicle capacity.

($1 = 0.9130 euros)

(Reporting by Christoph Steitz; Editing by Miranda Murray, Louise Heavens and Susan Fenton)