January 13, 2022, a crucial date to understand the strategies of Ford. Stocks hit a 20-year high at $ 25.87 and capitalization exceeds i for the first time 100 billion dollars. It is the culmination of a race that began months ago: 2021 closes with + 140% and the best performance on the Stock Exchange among all manufacturers. The capital market, despite the heavy correction of recent weeks, rewards the strategies launched by the CEO Jim Farley and the accelerations on the electrification front. Thus, Ford finally finds a way to put an end to years and years of disappointing stock market performance and at the root of the frequent changes at the top.
A flurry of announcements. This framework includes a whole series of initiatives undertaken, starting from the signing, as part of the Glasgow COP26, of the commitment to stop the production of endothermic vehicles by 2040, to arrive at the decision to increase the production of some models on tap to meet the growing orders. The highs of mid-January are linked to the decision to increase the volumes of the crossover Mustang Mach-E and the pick-up F-150 Lightning. Since then, the situation has changed – the stock has dropped to around 18 dollars and the capitalization to around 72 billion – but the fact remains that investors, also thanks to the progressive “deflation” of the bubble created around startups like Rivian or Lucid, have begun to look more and more carefully at Dearborn and his Ev strategies.
Plan. Strategies outlined with the Ford + plan: investments by 2025 increase from 22 billion to 30 billion dollars and the goal is set to “lead the electric vehicle revolution” by launching the challenge to Tesla. The Blue Oval aims to become the second largest electric producer in North America within two years and then aim for first place. To this end, the CEO would even be willing to increase the financial commitment: there are rumors of further investments (additional to those already planned) between 20 and 30 billion dollars to convert more and more plants to electricity and proceed with the spin-off, advocated on several occasions by investors, of all activities focused on battery-powered mobility.
The acceleration in Europe. The response to the rumors should not be long in coming, but it is already quite obvious given what Farley said: “Ford + is our greatest opportunity for growth and value creation since Henry Ford started climbing the Model T”. Much depends, of course, on the operational context and in particular on the political decisions of President Joe Biden, who is still struggling with various difficulties in getting his plans for electric mobility approved. In Europe, on the other hand, the die is cast: an ever stronger commitment to hybrid engines and a range electric only by 2030.
The former empire. Incidentally, the houses once part of the Ford empire are also accelerating. Volvo, controlled from 1999 to 2010, already has an electric-only brand, Polestar, and wants to become a brand EV only for 2030. Jaguar Land Rover’s approach is more prudent, although with some I distinguish between the two souls of the company founded in 2008 after the move to Tata. Jaguar will offer electric only from 2025, while Land Rover (from 2000 and for 8 years under the Ford umbrella) will abandon diesels in 2026 and aim for 60% sales with battery models by 2030. Another British manufacturer, Aston Martin, controlled by Dearborn from 1986 to 2007, focuses on electrification but with much more caution: the president Lawrence Stroll has indicated for 2026 the farewell to pure internal combustion engines and the plan to only sell electric or hybrid.