Radical makeover for the American manufacturer as it unveils its global strategy for the years to come. Between electrified range and customer experience, here’s Ford’s agenda through 2030.
In the direction of Germany, in Cologne, in the Ford European Design Center. The manufacturer presents its important strategic change: product range, brand image, customer journey and experience. Unsurprisingly, the brand also insists on the change from “car manufacturer” to “mobility provider”. We were also able to take a look at future electric models from Ford. But this is still strictly confidential…
Ford Model e: Electrical Department
We told you about it on Automobile Propre last March. Ford Blue for thermal vehicles, Ford PRO for the professional sector and Ford Model e for the electric sector. As a reminder, the latter develops the manufacturer’s 100% electric models, benefiting from its historical experience. We already know the Ford Mustang Mach-E SUV and more recently the Ford F150 Lightning pickup. Logically, the Ford PRO electric models also benefit from the know-how of the Ford Model e. This is particularly true of the Ford E-Transit Custom that we presented to you last September. Today, Ford is more committed than ever to electrified mobility, announcing promising models over the next two years. Note that from 2024, the profits and losses of Ford Blue and Ford Model e will be separated. A good way to compare financial success between thermal and electric.
From “Fiesta Company” to “Adventurous Spirit”
Back to the present. Ford has long been the only American brand with a massive presence in Europe. A presence that can be explained by the perception of its customers, who choose the following words: “Quality, Innovation, Elegance, Reliability”. Certainly a very positive image, but one that does not satisfy Ford 100% due to the pragmatic look it conveys. Ford intends to use its electrification to establish its American passion DNA and remind us of its “adventurous spirit”. Because for many consumers, it’s the “fiesta company.” The ideal brand for the practical, simple, reliable and functional small car for everyday use. With the Fiesta sitting in your garage, the announcement of the model’s discontinuation didn’t leave me indifferent. In reality, the manufacturer has always been as adventurous as it is urban (if not more so). Proven by the Ford Bronco, Raptor or Explorer to name a few.
As you have surely understood, the manufacturer has to reconcile this spirit on the one hand and the electrified future on the other. In addition, reach as we know it is disappearing. The logic of Russian dolls with a familiar face between Fiesta, Focus, Mondeo, Kuga, Galaxy, S-Max … it’s over. Ford’s future 100% electric range heralds a personality specific to each model, with an unprecedented aesthetic direction for the brand. The design language is changing, but we won’t be able to tell you that until very soon. We couldn’t even take photos for you later, that is! In the meantime, we can still confirm that the brand is wholeheartedly in it. The few models presented exclusively and in preview clearly illustrate Ford’s desire to evolve.
Less volume, more value
Ford reassesses its production targets. The manufacturer primarily wants to create value, not create volume. And that requires a significant reduction in range in favor of better, higher quality, state-of-the-art vehicles. Specifically, the lineup will feature just 9 models by 2024, up from 18 just four years ago, in 2018. If you thought the Fiesta’s discontinuation would give way to an all-new city car, that’s not nothing. It won’t be replaced by another city car, but by a brand new MPV that will arrive next year. Namely that the latter will now represent the entry-level class for the manufacturer. Three more models will follow, including one in 2023 and two in 2024. For the rest, we’ll content ourselves with the small teaser all in light Signature for the next 100% electric compact SUV.
The manufacturer continues to insist on its quest for innovation. Thanks to the support of talents and experts from the high-tech industry, the brand promises “excellent electric and connected vehicles”. “Models continue to improve over time and are still competitive in North America and Europe.” To better understand Ford’s investment in electrification, here are some numbers. The brand will invest no less than 50 billion in the coming years. 2 billion will be dedicated to the electrification center in Cologne, just a few steps away from the design center where we are located. 470 million for the Halewood site in the UK. Finally, 490 million will be allocated to Craiova in Romania, where the electric Ford Puma is produced. Ford aims to sell 600,000 electric cars worldwide by 2026. Currently, that is almost 22,000 electric vehicles sold in 2022.
Ford and the customer experience
And it is not for nothing that Martin Sander, head of Ford Model e, relies on connectivity. Remote vehicle monitoring, such as B. the Ford PRO services, enriches the customer experience. Concrete example: What happens if a vehicle breaks down after a breakdown or an accident? If your vehicle is in the Ford workshop for more than three days, the brand will contact the workshop concerned. This is to find out what is the reason for this immobilization, whether it is related to the availability of parts or not etc. Enough to follow up proactively to get the vehicle back to the customer as soon as possible. To go even further, the reins of the customer experience are entrusted to Aaron Mitchell, ex-IKEA for 15 years. The goal: to give customers the feeling of belonging to the Ford family.
In his own words, the brand, like others, doesn’t always have a constant when it comes to customer experience and travel. An aspect that should change thanks to a better “emotional connection” with Ford. In concrete terms, the aim is to strengthen customer care from simple visitors to regular customers. Electrification and connectivity would make it possible to know, monitor and support customers better thanks to data. This includes mobility preferences, charging habits, types of journeys, etc. Everything to offer services and solutions adapted to each user profile. This may translate into more appropriate route recommendations or shortcuts and tips shared by the Ford user community on a daily basis. The big Ford family, in short. We are still waiting for the evolution of the range to discover in practice and behind the wheel what the brand will offer us.