Ford was the next big success in the car industry when its shares topped $25 apiece earlier this year. Its future could not have been brighter as the market anticipated its move into the electric pickup market with its F-150 Lightning. That optimism has disappeared. Ford’s shares have fallen well below $14.
Ford’s defenders could argue that all stocks have dropped this year. However. Ford’s shares have badly underperformed the S&P 500. The pessimism is severe.
Ford has made several comments that could undermine its EV future. The F-150 has been the best-selling vehicle in America for four decades. An electric version can tap into the owners of millions of F-150s sold over the past decade.
Ford has cautioned about potential problems with the Lightning. William C. Ford Jr., Ford’s executive board chair, commented to The New York Times that “If this launch doesn’t go well, we can tarnish the entire franchise.” The article suggests that Ford faces a high hurdle as it builds complex software for the pickup. Additionally, the microchip shortage has damaged the entire industry and could undermine production levels. InsideEVs recently reported a number of Lightnings have come off the assembly line but have not been shipped to dealers. The report speculates that Ford does not have the chips it needs so they can be delivered to customers.
If the Lightning is delayed, Ford has lost its best chance to get a strong foothold in the electric vehicle market. It becomes one legacy car company competing with all the huge manufacturers who want into the sector and, of course, Tesla.
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