Mustang and EVs also factor into plans
Electrification is all the buzz this year at the Frankfurt auto show with lofty targets announced by the German automakers in particular. Ford is proceeding more cautiously. Ford is spending $4.5 billion USD to introduce 18 new hybrids and EVs over five years. That includes an all-new small full-electric crossover in 2020 that would likely replace the C-Max and will be a global vehicle.
In Europe, full EVs are expected to account for 15 percent of the market in 2025. Each brand must figure out its own unique EV strategy to differentiate itself in the market, said Ford of Europe CEO Steve Armstrong in an interview in Frankfurt.
There have also been reports that Lincoln will distinguish itself by having hybrids of all U.S. models by 2022. Ford does not sell Lincoln in Europe where higher-end models are sold as Vignale. There are no plans to make the Vignale lineup all electric, said Armstrong. Its current position “is fantastic for us,” he said.
Ford continues to tinker with its European portfolio. The high-volume Fiesta is launching and the B-Max stopped production this month. Consumers are opting instead for the EcoSport small crossover which has new powertrains and all-wheel drive for the first time in Europe, an upgraded interior, and a new Europe-only EcoSport ST-Line appearance package, Armstrong said. That package gets you sportier styling inside and out and a tuned suspension. The refresh that debuted with the U.S.-market EcoSport makes its European debut in Frankfurt.
Production has been moved to a plant in Romania to help meet increased local demand. Production begins at the Craiova plant next month, using capacity that used to be for the B-Max. EcoSports for Europe were being imported from India.
Ford is also enjoying “phenomenal success” with the addition of the Mustang, Armstrong said. And the Edge is proving surprisingly successful and presenting a real opportunity in the high-end CUV market.
Armstrong said there is still a future for the C-Max and S-Max in Europe with no plans to discontinue them.
There is also still a market for diesels but their share continues to decline and Ford is offering a range of gas engines as an alternative, Armstrong said. “I don’t think diesels will go to extinction anytime soon,” he said. Especially for commercial vehicles.