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Important events

Sep 162021

Ford dives into self-driving deliveries

Ford is teaming up with retail giant Walmart (WMT) and auto-driving technology company Argo AI to step into a new age of efficient deliveries: Driverless cars to deliver your groceries. The service will deliver Walmart (WMT) products with Ford cars that are equipped with Argo AI technology. Argo’s founder and chief executive, Bryan Salesky, said:

Our focus on the testing and development of self-driving technology that operates in urban areas where customer demand is high really comes to life with this collaboration. Working together with Walmart and Ford across three markets, we’re showing the potential for autonomous vehicle delivery services at scale.

Ford is a backer of Argo AI, so the partnership makes sense.
Andre Tan / Unsplash
Sep 142021

Another new hire for Ford

Ford makes its next high-profile appointment of the week, hiring online sales veteran Mike Amend.

Former President for online retail company Lowe’s, Amend has been hired to join Ford as the automaker's new chief digital and information officer.

Amend will contribute to the company's software, data, and technology changes under its electrification program – proving that Ford is intent on bolstering its digital offerings. This is Ford’s second high-profile appointment in a week, having just poached Apple car project leader Doug Field.
Mike Amend / LinkedIn
Sep 102021

Ford pulls out of India

Ford is putting an end to its long and costly attempt to build a presence in India, and will shut down all operations in the country and take a hit of around $2 billion.

Twenty five years after entering the India market in an effort to compete in the massive auto-market and take on dominant low-cost Asian rivals like Suzuki (6785) and Hyundai (005380), Ford has decided to take its $2 billion in losses and put an end to its New Delhi operations. In the past, India was expected to be the world's third-largest car market by 2020 after China and the United States, but it turns out the market had struggled to grow. Ford isn't alone in its struggle to get a grip on the market – General Motors (GM) stopped selling cars in India in 2017. Ford India head Anurag Mehrotra said:

Despite (our) efforts, we have not been able to find a sustainable path forward to long-term profitability.

Prices ended Thursday down 2%.
Sep 082021

Ford goes trophy hunting

Ford has been on the hunt for a strong team to push its ambitious EV turnaround plan, and it’s poached one of the best: Doug Field, former leader of Apple’s secret car project and a Tesla veteran.

In May, Ford CEO Jim Farley introduced his new Ford+ Turnaround Plan which aims to see electric vehicles make up 40% of all global sales by 2030 and increase EV investment to $30 billion by 2025. The company is on the hunt for an all-star cast to headline its transformation, and this week poached Doug Field, previously senior vice president of engineering at Tesla and until recently one of the key leads on Apple’s (AAPL) top secret car project. Field will help Ford develop stronger digital services, which is a key tenet of the automakers turnaround plan, and will also delve into car and truck design. Farley said about the company’s new hire:

This is a watershed moment for our company. The entire customer experience of the future goes through the embedded system. His talent and commitment to innovation that improves customers’ lives will be invaluable as we build out our Ford+ plan to deliver awesome products, always-on customer relationships and ever-improving user experiences.

Ford’s electrified vehicles set a new August sales record this year. EV sales were up over 67% from the same period last year to a total of 8,756 vehicles, and EV’s are bringing in new customers at an unprecedented rate. Ford received such high demand for its electric F-150 that it reportedly doubled its production target on the truck.
F-150 / Ford
Sep 032021

A sad August for automakers

As the global chip shortage rages on, Ford is feeling the pain – following a string of factory shutdowns over the summer, Ford’s August sales plunged by a third from the same period a year before. Total U.S. sales were 124,176 vehicles, down 33.1% from a year ago. However, every cloud has a silver lining and electric vehicles sales jumped by two-thirds to a new August record, up 67% to 8,756 vehicles.

Prices opened in the red on Friday morning.
Sep 012021

Ford pauses Bronco orders

In the midst of multiple-factory shut down, Ford subtly stops taking orders for its Ford Bronco.

Ford has recently had to shut downproduction of some of its key factories as a response to the ever-continuing global chip shortage, and clearly the end isn’t yet in sight. The firm just gave us a subtle hint that things have taken another turn for the worse by pausing all online orders for the Ford Bronco. Orders are expecting to come back online in October.
Aug 272021

Ford’s chip crisis continues

The effects of the global chip crisis are only worsening, and Ford once again cuts vehicle production, meaning the automaker has lost around 50% of its Q2 planned production.

Ford has been hit especially hard by the global chip shortage, facing factory shutdowns left right and center in the wake of a lack of supply. Despite accelerating its electric vehicle production earlier this week, Ford has been forced to cut production of its top F-150 pickup and two other popular cars, so it looks like its EV segment is getting what little resources the company has. Ford said in a statement:

Our teams continue making the most of our available semiconductor allocation, finding unique solutions to provide as many high-quality vehicles as possible to our dealers and customers.
Aug 242021

Ford takes EV pickup production up a gear

Ford is doubling its production target for its F-150 Lightning after seeing pre-launch demand kick it up a gear.

Despite last week having to close its Kansas City plant in the face of the worsening semiconductor chip crisis, Ford has received such high demand for its electric F-150 that it is reportedly doubling its production target on the truck. The leading auto-maker plans to spend an additional $850 million to its 2022 launch target, facing heightening demand for the electric version of the F-150, which has been America’s best selling vehicle for nearly 40 years. Ford is aiming to produce over 80,000 F-150 Lightning vehicles annually by 2024, double its original target of 40,000. The company said:

We are excited with customer demand for the F-150 Lightning and already have 120,000 customer reservations, and we will continue to look for ways to break constraints and meet customer demand.

Automakers are racing to make the move to electric vehicles as they face increasing governmental pressure to cut down on vehicle emissions – President Joe Biden has made electric vehicles a key tenant of his $2 trillion infrastructure bill, injecting around $174 billion into boosting EV production, infrastructure and sales.

Ford closed the day up 1.27%.
All-Electric F-150 Lightning Pro / Ford
Aug 192021

The chip shortage strikes again

It might be the second-largest vehicle maker in the U.S., but Ford is still battling with the effects of the global chip shortage, forcing it to temporarily close production at a U.S. truck plant.

No one seems to have any real idea how much longer the global semiconductor chip shortage will go on for, but one thing is for sure – carmakers are struggling, and Ford is caught in the crosshairs. The firm was forced to temporarily close its Kansas City plant this week (the location where its best-selling F-150 pickup trucks are manufactured) because of the ongoing COVID-19 closures in Malaysia exacerbating the chip shortage.

This is not the first time that Ford has had to close down a plant, and the closure is expected to last at least a week.
Aug 162021

Ford gets into a spat with General Motors

After getting hit with a trademark lawsuit from General Motors over its “BlueCruise” highway driving system, Ford has responded with a request for the case to be dismissed.

After Ford launched its very own hands-free highway driving tech and called it “BlueCruise”, automaker competitor General Motors (GM) spoke out against the name, saying it was too similar to its own Super Cruise system. On July 24, GM (GM) sued Ford for potentially infringing on its Super Cruise trademark, and it basically turned into a discussion about whether the word “cruise” can be trademarked to that extent.

While GM had hoped to resolve the trademark infringement matter with Ford amicably, we were left with no choice but to vigorously defend our brands and protect the equity our products and technology have earned over several years in the market. Ford knew what it was doing. (Its) decision to rebrand by using a core mark used by GM and Cruise will inevitably cause confusion,

GM said at the time.

Ford is having none of it, standing by its new name and asking the judge to dismiss the lawsuit entirely, calling it “meritless and frivolous” and asking for GM’s (GM) trademark on the word “cruise” to be removed.

Drivers for decades have understood what cruise control is, every automaker offers it, and 'cruise' is a common shorthand for the capability. That’s why BlueCruise was chosen as the name for the Blue Oval’s next evolution of Ford’s Intelligent Adaptive Cruise Control,

said Ford as a defense.
Aug 022021

Ford revs up with Q2 profit

Ford stock lifted 3.82% on Thursday after surprising investors with a quarterly profit as car sales overshadow supply constraints, although it lost most of the gains again on Friday.

Shares of Ford got a bump up from its pleasing second quarter results, which raised the outlook for the rest of the year and showed a surprise profit as demand for its cars soars. The automaker reported earnings per share of $0.13 on revenue of $24.13 billion, compared to the $0.03 loss and $24.25 billion in revenue that analysts were expecting. Revenue came in just under expectations due to the semiconductor shortage pressure, which continues to reign in production capacity – the company lost production of around 700,000 vehicles in the quarter. That makes up around 17% of its production, much less than the 50% that analysts expected.

The numbers are even more impressive when you consider that one of the Japanese factories it sources a lot of its semiconductor chips from was hit by a fire in March. Ford has managed to make the best of a bad situation, and raised the price of a lot of its scarcer cars: apparently a big part of the reason the automaker was able to turn a profit this quarter. As the cherry on top, Ford thinks that the shortage is on the way to easing.

We are now spring-loaded for growth in the second half and beyond because of those red-hot products, pent-up demand and improving chip supply,

CEO Jim Farley told analysts.

Ford raised its full year guidance by around $3.5 billion to up to $10 billion, and sales volume is expected to rise by around 30% in the second half of the year.
Jul 232021

A robotaxi revolution?

Ford is making good use of its shiny new EV range, joining its partner Argo AI to start a Robotaxi service with rideshare giant Lyft across major U.S. cities next year.

Automaker Ford is teaming up with self-driving software start-up Argo AI and industry leading ride-hailing company Lyft (LYFT) to create, you guessed it, a self-driving ride-hailing app. The best of all worlds – although to quell any fears about getting into a robot car, there will be safety drivers in the cars for at least the next two years. The trailblazing trio will launch at least 1,000 of the Robotaxis on Lyft’s (LYFT) network over the next five years, starting with Austin and Miami. Ford and Argo both have a huge fleet of test vehicles in those areas, but the plan is to expand into all major U.S. cities from 2023 onwards.

The collab will be the first time a carmaker, a self-driving software developer and a ride-hailing company have joined forces, and it could be the key to figuring out how to finally make a commercially viable business from Robotaxis. Lyft (LYFT) abandoned its own Robotaxi dreams when it sold its self-driving tech segment to Toyota, but a self-driving taxi has long been the holy grail for the industry.

Lyft jumped 5.33% on Wednesday on the news, while Ford rose a modest 2.01%.
Jul 062021

Ford sees June deliveries slip

Ford is up 69% YTD and is making impressive headway in the EV market, but can it keep up the gains as it battles the global chip shortage?

Legacy stock Ford, which has been controlled by the Ford family since Henry first founded the firm way back in 1903, has been one of the top stocks to watch this year. It kicked off 2021 with a brand new start, a corporate redesign, and big plans to make its mark on the EV and clean energy market. And so far, things have been going pretty well.

The stock started the year off at $8.81, and since then the firm has released a whole bunch of new technologies in the EV space that have pushed the price up to its Friday close of $14.93. In May, Ford said it was expecting 40% of its global sales to be electric by 2030, and announced plans to increase its EV investment to $30 billion by 2025. However, things haven't been running as smoothly lately as the global chip shortage takes its toll, casting doubts over whether Ford will be able to keep up with its stellar 2021 performance.

Last week, the automaker was forced to significantly cut its North American vehicle production: shutting down or reducing production at eight plants, six of which were in the U.S., for at least the month of July and possibly going into August. The cuts were the latest in a string of shutdowns for the company, which earlier this year said it was expecting to lose about 50% of vehicle production in Q2 because of the chip shortage issue, adding up a loss of around $2.5 billion in earnings.

On Friday, its latest June delivery numbers gave a glimpse into that reality. Second quarter sales were below expectations at 475,327 vehicles, up only 9.6% from the same period a year ago when the country was locked down and auto dealers were shut, while sales for the month of June were down by just under 30%.

There is a silver lining though – Ford has seen reservations for its electric F-150 Lightning pickup surpass 10,000 since it made its debut in May.
Jun 042021

Ford keeps flying

Ford flew 7% after it unveiling a new compact pickup truck and some impressive sales numbers - the stock is up 35% since the start of May.

Last week, Ford continued its winning streak with a 7% jump that took the stock to its highest price since 2016, on the back of a JP Morgan upgrade and the release of a new vehicle. Prices are now trading at around the $15 mark – highs that investors haven’t seen since May 2016. The new entry-level truck is called Maverick, and is part of the automaker’s plan to offer pickups at a variety of prices as the market becomes more competitive.

Another piece of good news came in the form of a JP Morgan analyst upgrade, probably thanks to the sales numbers released the day before. Ford reported last week that its U.S. sales rose in May despite production issues and chip shortages that have been plaguing automakers. Sales were up 4.1% for the month, a welcome improvement from the sharp decline in May 2020 as COVID ran rampant. Whilst beating last year's numbers wasn't exactly difficult, it was still a surprise given the production challenges that the company has had to face recently – interruptions at key factories in the U.S. coupled with strong consumer demand has left Ford, and indeed a lot of others, in the doldrums as inventories are depleted and the global chip shortage continues.

Ford may not see the same degree of improvement in semiconductor availability in 2Q as GM but we believe it may see some, including after it was reported earlier this week that a fire-damaged semiconductor plant in Japan to which it is disproportionately exposed has nearly returned to full capacity,

the JP Morgan analyst, Ryan Brinkman, said about the stock.
May 272021

Investor day excitment

Ford is up over 12% in two days to close at its highest price since July 2016 after its investor day reveals plans to boost electric vehicle investment to $30 billion by 2025.

Shares of Ford jumped up almost 9% on Wednesday on the back of CEO Jim Farley’s first investor day, where shareholders got a look at the company’s impressive new “Ford+'' initiative, which is aimed specifically at increasing profits and expanding into high tech segments. The car maker is also hugely investing in its EV segment, which has recently got a lot of attention for the new electric version of its most popular pickup last week. A part of the new Ford+ plan is for electric vehicles to make up nearly half of all global sales by 2030, and Ford will increase its investment into EVs to over $30 billion by 2025.

This is our biggest opportunity for growth and value creation since Henry Ford started to scale the Model T, and we’re grabbing it with both hands,

said Ford CEO Jim Farley.
May 242021

Promising partnership

Ford stock is absolutely cruising, jumping almost 7% on Friday to close at its highest price in a decade after the automaker announced a new partnership with a South Korean battery maker to support the rollout of the new EV pickup it announced last week.

Ford stock got a boost earlier last week after revealing its brand new Electric Ford F-150 Lightning pickup; and prices shot up another 6.73% on May 21 with the announcement that the rollout would be supported by a new deal with South Korean battery maker SK Innovation. The pair have agreed to form a battery joint venture in the U.S., and have signed a deal to form a new venture together called BlueOvalSK.

Finalized details are likely to emerge later this summer, but so far the plan is for BlueOvalSK to produce around 60 gigawatt-hours (GWh) annually in traction battery cells and array modules – which sounds kinda techy, but is important because Ford’s global EV plan demands a capacity of 240 GWh by 2030, which is when the company hopes to be all-electric. So this deal is a pretty important step in the right direction.

This MoU is just the start; it’s a key part of our plan to vertically integrate key capabilities that will differentiate Ford far into the future,

said Jim Farley, Ford president and CEO.
May 192021

Ford gets Tesla shaking in its boots

There was once a time when Tesla had a monopoly on the EV space, but competitors like Ford are starting to take back some of that territory. The automaker reveals its new electric pickup ahead of schedule, and Prez Biden is the first to give it a whirl.

Ford gave the world (well, Biden) a sneak peek at its highly anticipated new electric F-150 Lightning pickup earlier than anyone was expecting, during a presidential tour of the Michigan plant that is producing the car. The Ford F-150 has been the best-selling truck in the U.S. for over forty years, so releasing an electric version isn’t just a big deal for Ford - it’s a big deal for everyone. And clearly the new vehicle already has a fan in Biden, who apparently joked that he’d like to lose secret service and take it to the track. He also reinforced his support for the adoption of EVs, and suggested switching government vehicles to EVs such as the F-150.

The future of the auto industry is electric, there’s no turning back

Biden said during a speech at the plant.

At the rate things are going, that’s looking pretty possible – global EV sales are expected to double in 2021 alone. Currently, electric vehicles only make up only about 3% of global auto sales, but some analysts think that electrics could outsell gas cars by 2040.

One of the first to predict this was obviously Elon Musk’s Tesla, which until recently had a clear lead over its competitors in this space. One teardown of the Model 3 last year estimated Tesla tech to be six years ahead of VW and Toyota. However, Tesla's share of the U.S. electric-car market fell from 81% to 69% in February 2021; a key reason for which was the boom in sales for Ford’s electric Mustang Mach-E.

It’s not just traditional automakers that are making their mark either; smaller dedicated electric vehicle brands like Lucid Motors and Fisker are starting to fight for (and win) their own piece of the market. Lucid Motors was founded with the aim of redefining luxury EVs, competing directly with Tesla’s Model S with its Lucid Air. When you compare the two vehicles, Lucid does a pretty good job of keeping up, scoring higher in five out of six categories (Lucid’s CEO was the chief engineer of the Model S at Tesla, so they’ve got a bit of an inside advantage). Last week, the company gave an analyst day presentation as it cruised towards completing its merger with SPAC Churchill Capital IV in order to go public. Shares of Churchill had been trading downwards for a few weeks, but this update managed to send them back on an uphill journey. Lucid has already sold out all of its $170,000 Air Sedans and total reservations have topped 9,000. In its latest update, Lucid pushed back the close of its SPAC merger, which we can now expect to complete early in Q3 – so watch this space, as we might see some big things coming.

New player Fisker is at the battle too, winning with a strong earnings report and a new delivery agreement with a U.K. based electric car subscription service. This week the firm released its Q1 earnings, which show some promising milestones – although nothing is on sale yet, its first product, called Ocean, is still expected in 2022, and reservations for the car have jumped to 16,000 from 12,000 in the first quarter. Its second car will be produced by well-known Apple supplier Foxconn, and is expected in 2023.

You can almost hear Tesla shaking in its wheels.
Photo: Gage Skidmore / Flickr
May 042021

Cautious recovery

Ford is making a cautious recovery this week after the shock announcement in its Q1 earnings of an expected 50% reduction in Q2 production levels sent the share price plummeting by almost 10% on April 29. The stock recovered by around 2.49% the following day however, and has been creeping gradually back up this week.

Ford reported earnings last week with better than expected profits, but it's clear that the global semiconductor shortage is starting to hit where it hurts. The automaker reported adjusted earnings of 89 cents per share on revenue of $33.5 billion and sales of $36.2 billion, versus expectations of 21 cents earnings per share on $32.23 billion revenue.

But even in the face of such a strong earnings beat, there was plenty for investors to be concerned about. The semiconductor shortage has hit the company’s free cash flow, increasing raw material costs and making life pretty hard for automakers, who have had to shutter factories around the globe for varying periods of time – leading to tight vehicle inventories on dealer lots.

Ford burned through around $400 million in Q1 because it finished the period with a load of unfinished cars. Its earnings report warned that the global chip shortage could slash its Q2 production by up to 50% before potentially improving toward the end of the year. Ford updated its full year guidance, which was set at between $8 billion and $9 billion in adjusted pretax profits in February, but has now been adjusted to be between $5.5 billion and $6.5 billion, with adjusted free cash flow for 2021 expected to be between $500 million and $1.5 billion. The semiconductor shortage will cost the company around $2.5 billion in 2021, and is expected to cost the global auto industry $60.6 billion in revenue.

Luckily, lower supplies have also led to higher profits per vehicle, so hopefully the company can continue to perform despite the shortage.