Ford Reveals Big European Electric Vehicle Plans

Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F) on Tuesday announced the European lineup of 17 electrified vehicles (EVs) the company expects to introduce by 2024. Seven of those vehicles have been or are being introduced this year.

On Monday, Moody’s Investor Services downgraded Ford debt to junk status. The company’s senior unsecured debt rating dropped from Baa3 to Ba1 from Baa3. The downgrade likely won’t cool Ford’s enthusiasm for EVs.

At the Frankfurt Motor Show, Ford said that it expects EVs to comprise more than half of the company’s European sales by the end of 2022. The company also expects to have sold a million EVs by that date.

Among the vehicles on exhibit are an all-new Kuga Plug-in Hybrid (PHEV), along with an all-new Explorer PHEV, a new Tourneo Custom PHEV, a new Puma EcoBoost Titanium X hybrid and a Mondeo hybrid wagon. An all-new Mustang all-electric (EV) performance sport utility vehicle is on tap for 2020. The Mustang is tabbed to have a driving range of more than 370 miles on a single charge.

Ford’s commitment to electrified vehicles is more gradual than that of competitors General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM) and Volkswagen, which are forgoing PHEVs and going straight to EVs. Toyota Motor Corp. (NYSE: TM) is, unsurprisingly, taking the same approach as Ford, planning to introduce PHEVs first and targeting EV introductions for later.

The company is positioning the Mondeo, a self-charging, full hybrid, gasoline-electric model, as an alternative to the diesel-powered vehicles that have been much more popular in Europe than in the United States. Ever since the VW scandal broke in 2015, however, diesel-powered vehicles have lost most of their appeal to European consumers, and government subsidies to buyers of electrified vehicles have helped push diesel vehicles further out of favor.

In 2018, sales of diesel-powered vehicles in Europe fell from 44% in 2017 to just under 36%. In 2015, diesel-powered vehicles accounted for nearly 52% of all European new car sales.

Joerg Beyer, executive director of engineering for Ford of Europe, commented: “There is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution when it comes to electrification – every customer’s circumstances and travel needs are different.”

Moody’s is less sanguine about customer acceptance of Ford’s growing stable of EVs, pointing out consumer skepticism of them.

Ford’s stock took a beating Tuesday morning due to the Moody’s downgrade. Shares traded down about 4% early in the session, at $9.17 in a 52-week range of $7.41 to $10.56. The 12-month consensus price target on the stock is $10.73.

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