Ford gave all the hints that it was abandoning the production of electric-powered cars. Therefore, those who follow the movement of this market were not surprised by the decision of the automaker to close its Brazilian factories and definitively end its manufacturing activities in the country, after 101 years.
The American automaker’s strategy, according to Ford Group president for the Americas and International Markets, Kumar Galhotra, is “to provide capable and affordable electric vehicles to the heart of the retail and commercial market, instead of six-figure luxury vehicles.”
As the electric market in Brazil is still insignificant globally, and the government shows no sign that it intends to help accelerate the transition to the new model of individual transport, Ford’s initiatives here have simply lost their meaning.
Another problem: Ford took too long to take the electric car race seriously. The only competitive 100% electric car project that the brand has managed to put on the streets so far is the Mustang Mach-e, but it just hit the market in the late 2020s. The company still has an electric van, the e-Transit, coming and an electric F-150 in development. But that is just it.
Now, with established market leaders, like Tesla, and giants like Volkswagen investing billions of dollars to migrate 100% of their production to the electric environment, there is very little that Ford can do except a global restructuring to escape a possible disappearance.
The automaker’s electrification plans (including both renewing its portfolio of traditional models by transforming them into pure or hybrid electric vehicles and launching new models) foresee an investment of $ 11.5 billion by the end of 2022.
“It is a decision linked to Ford’s global business strategy aimed at reallocating investments in more priority markets, notably in China and the USA,” Ricardo Bacellar, a partner at KPMG consultancy, told Exame magazine.
Still, the numbers are low. The Volkswagen group, for example, announced in 2020 that it would invest US $ 84 billion in electric mobility by 2025. Half of this will be dedicated to the improvement of its MEB electric car platform, which already has 2 models for sale in the international market and several others under development.
To make matters worse, last year represented a 39.5% drop in vehicle sales for Ford do Brasil, while the entire auto sector shrank 28.6%, according to data from the National Association of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers (Anfavea ).