Future of Ford Is Filled with More Mustangs, Trucks, Off-Road SUVs
A more-focused Ford is betting heavily on the vehicles that make money and raise the image of the Blue Oval and that means performance, SUVs, trucks, and electrified vehicles and very few actual mainstream cars coming to market over the next two years.
By 2020, Ford will have replaced 75 percent of its lineup and added four new nameplates—all trucks and SUVs, said Joe Hinrichs, head of global operations. In fact, 86 percent of the lineup will be trucks and SUVs.
Trucks are big business
Ford knows where its bread is buttered: F-Series pickups are a $41 billion business, bigger than Coke or Nike, said Jim Farley, head of global markets. Thus, the automaker has an F-150 with a diesel coming this spring that promises best-in-class horsepower, torque, and 30 mpg on the highway.
The F-150 hybrid comes in 2020 with a mobile generator, and an all-new Super Duty by 2020. Executives at a product overview for the media also hinted there will be more Raptor news to come, which has us envisioning a Ranger Raptor sometime after the Ranger midsize pickup goes on sale next year in the U.S.
The other iconic nameplate is Mustang. In addition to a hybrid version of the current pony car, the return of the Shelby GT500 promises street legal performance off the charts and a Ford showroom with the unusual distinction of offering both the GT350 and GT500 at the same time.
To further leverage Mustang cachet, the muscle car is the inspiration for Ford’s first all-electric performance vehicle which is in fact a utility vehicle with Mustang styling coming in 2020. We await full details to see how it takes on Tesla in acceleration and range, which Ford has said will exceed 300 miles. Ford teased the name Mach 1 at the North American International Auto Show in January and the name is still under consideration. Ford has promised six pure electric vehicles by 2022. Porsche also has chosen a wagon-utility vehicle body style for its first production pure EV, the Mission E Cross Turismo.
Bring on the SUVs
By 2020 Ford will have four new utility vehicles, over and above the EcoSport, a global vehicle new to the U.S. market, the new Edge and Edge ST performance version; and the new Expedition.
Still to come: the next-generation Escape including a hybrid, as well as an all-new Escape-sized off-road SUV (pictured at top of page) that does not yet have a name but joins the growing trend to introduce both urban and rugged small SUVs in a segment that continues to grow in popularity.
And there is the much-anticipated Bronco coming in 2020, which will also be offered with a hybrid option. Farley said Ford’s definition of off-road is not Jeep and Moab, but dirt trails, sand dunes, and general lifestyle adventures while retaining strong on-road capability, like the Raptor.
New Ford Bronco
Also coming is the next-generation Explorer that will include the conventional three-row SUV, hybrid options, and an ST performance version.
Lincoln slow but not forgotten
Not to leave out Lincoln, an Explorer-sized Aviator will bow at the New York auto show. Plus, there is another SUV in the works by 2020 and then four more planned after that, said Hinrichs.
EVs high on the agenda
On the electrified side, Farley is making some bold claims. All utility vehicles in the future will have a hybrid, plug-in hybrid, or both. Ford expects to be No.1 in hybrids by 2021, jumping ahead of Toyota, he said, by ensuring all the automaker’s mainstream vehicles offer some degree of electrification.
The peek behind the curtain—not all details can be shared yet—comes as investors and critics have described Ford as falling behind the competition in everything from products to technology to overall management.
Jim Hackett, who took over as CEO in May with the ouster of Mark Fields, said it is time to share some of the efforts to date as the automaker works to cut costs, pare the lineup, change how it engineers new products, and invest in strategic areas including driver assist technologies, standard 4G LTE by the end of 2019, and over-the-air updates.
The efforts include reducing engineering costs by $4 billion over five years, cutting development time by 20 percent, reducing complexity by offering fewer configurations of vehicles, and improving quality.
Platforms will be replaced by five vehicle architectures: front-wheel drive unibody; rear-drive unibody; commercial van unibody; body-on-frame; and battery electric vehicles. Common modules will account for 70 percent of a vehicle. Instead of seven moonroof choices, there will be two or three, Hinrichs said.
“We’re going to run the company better,” Hackett said.
Going forward, a basic suite of driver-assist technologies dubbed Ford Co-Pilot360 will make features such as emergency braking and blind spot warning standard on virtually all vehicles in the future. Co-Pilot360 will be on an updated Fusion.