Ford Hopes To Make F-150 Lightning Strike Again
Hoping to make lightning strike again, Ford is training its sights on “EV newbies,” hoping a possible three-row SUV will attract them the way the F-150 Lightning electric pickup captured customers “who hadn’t considered an electric vehicle before,” according to Green Car Reports.
Ford Reopens Order Banks For Mustang Mach-Es.
Many Truck Newbies Bought F-150 Lightning As First Pickup
Ford’s president and CEO Jim Farley told the magazine that many “new customers bought a Lightning [who] never owned a pickup truck before … And we intend to do that with a three-row electric SUV.”
Green Car Reports (GCR) noted that “EV newbies” made up “nearly 80 percent of reservation-holders.” Ford has a two-track vehicle reservations scheme. The first is the reservation, where potential customers reserve vehicles with a $100 placeholder. The second track occurs when the reservations bank becomes an order bank, and reservation holders become order holders. The order holders usually add to their reservation fees so that their reservations become orders. The figure is between $1,000 and $1,500.
Ford Vehicles Takes Many Vincentric Awards.
Farley indicated to GCR that “there’s room to do that again (turn reservation holders into order holders) again in the future with other vehicle types.”
During his biweekly phone call to investors this week, Farley noted that the automaker hopes to make lightning strike again “with a three-row crossover and a bunch of EV Pro vehicles, which we think will be a huge growth for us.”
Farley Outlines 3-Row SUV, Other Plans
GCR noted that Ford “might be eyeing the form factor of the Ford Explorer or former Ford Flex, perhaps.” The magazine continued that “an electric version of the U.S. family mainstay – not to be confused with the VW-based
VW-based European Ford Explorer revealed in March -- may keep some existing owners who already have a Mach-E from moving on to another brand for something larger and electric.”
Farley, in his comments, added that the automaker has “also found that customers are very loyal to full EV powertrains once they enter, but they are not brand-loyal for their first purchase.” He continued that over 60 percent of [Ford’s EV buyers] are new to the automaker. “We’re seeing that the second EV purchase is much more loyal to the brand in” developed “EV markets.”
Farley Predicts Strong Future Growth
GCR noted that the CEO “emphasized that such future models will amount to tremendous growth, but that growth needs to be managed.” Farley indicated that “in the small, medium utility segment, it will be a very saturated two-row EV market…Against this backdrop, to ensure profitable growth, we know we have to have a fresh, compelling offering with the right cost struct – something we continue to improve with the Mustang Mach-E.”
Looking at the three-row model, GCR indicated that Farley noted that Ford “has reduced the cost of materials for the Mach-E by $5,000 per vehicle…That’s likely one of the factors that enabled significant Ford enables substantial price cuts for the Mustang Mach-E lineup earlier this week.”
Ford recently announced it would renovate its Oakville, Ontario, assembly plant. The automaker has yet to reveal which future EVs could be built there in two years. GCR indicated that the three-row SUV is a possibility. Ford hasn't announced choices for Ontario production.
Farley Makes Comments In Quarterly Call
During Farley’s latest quarterly call to analysts, GCR noted the CEO indicated that Ford plans “’ future Ford EVs will be ‘radically simplified’ with fewer body styles and ‘just a handful of orderable combinations.’ He also emphasized that this will mean better quality and lower manufacturing cost.”
During this week’s call, Farley noted that Ford wanted to “have many scales per top hat.” This suggests GCR noted that Ford is trying to “avoid niche models.” GCR indicated that “one such example … would be the ‘SUV coupe’ body styles that some automakers have introduced to the EV market.”
Ford Needs To Compete With Rivals
GCR concluded that “such an electric SUV wouldn’t be the first with three rows. It would need to rival the Kia EV9 and, upmarket, the Rivian R1S, Tesla Model X, and Volvo EX90, among others. But if it can get out ahead of some other market offerings yet to come – as the Lightning did – Ford might” see lightning strike again.
Ford Motor Photo
Marc Stern has been an automotive writer since 1971 when an otherwise normal news editor said, “You're our new car editor," and dumped about 27 pounds of auto stuff on my desk. I was in heaven as I have been a gearhead from my early days. As a teen, I spent many misspent hours hanging out at gas stations (a big thing in my youth) and working on cars. From there on, it was a straight line to my first column for the paper "You Auto Know," an enterprise I handled faithfully for 32 years. Only a few people know that I also handled computer documentation for most of my earnings while writing YAN. My best writing, though, was always in cars. My work has appeared in Popular Mechanics, Mechanix Illustrated, AutoWeek, SuperStock, Trailer Life, Old Cars Weekly, Special Interest Autos, etc. You can follow me on: Twitter or Facebook.