Ford’s onslaught of electric truck news this week seems calculated to lay claim to the profitable segment -- and overshadow a new General Motors rival -- ahead of its first-quarter financial results Wednesday.
On Monday, the automaker announced the production launch of the all-electric F-150 Lightning pickup truck, a full-sized version of its popular gas-engine F-150 pickup. The next day, during a livestreamed party to celebrate the F-150 Lightning, CEO Jim Farley revealed that a second, unnamed electric truck is on the way.
The timing of Ford’s announcement may be no coincidence, given that GM was hours from highlighting the all-electric version of its Chevrolet Silverado pickup at its own quarterly earnings call with analysts.
That, and the $50 billion Ford has invested in going electric, is a clear sign of the automaker’s commitment to becoming a volume leader in EVs while continuing to dominate the pickup truck market.
What analysts and TechCrunch will be watching out for ...
Per data from Yahoo Finance, analysts expect that Ford generated Q1 2022 earnings of 37 cents per share off revenues of $31.2 billion. That’s a significant dip compared with the $36.2 billion in revenue and 89 cents per share Ford reported the same quarter a year ago.
Ford’s first-quarter U.S. sales dropped 17.4%, due to industry-wide pressures on the global supply chain and ability to produce enough cars to meet demand.
Ford completed a historic restructuring in March, spinning off its fledgling EV business from its combustion unit. The EV unit is called Ford Model e, and the combustion business is Ford Blue.
Wall Street applauded Ford’s decision to reorganize operations and will be listening to the earnings call for planning updates from the new management team.
“We believe investors may be very surprised at the strong levels of cash flows from the ‘Ford Blue’ business, and the pace of investment into the cash consuming EV business for the next 3 to 5 years,” Morgan Stanley auto analyst Adam Jonas wrote in a recent report.
The F-150 pickup truck has been the stalwart of Ford’s portfolio for the last 45 years, serving as America’s best-selling truck — and, for almost all of those years, the country’s best-selling vehicle, too. However, its annual lead over the Chevrolet Silverado and Ram 1500 has narrowed recently, prompting Ford’s aggressive efforts to promote its trucks this week.
Ford spent more than $1 billion to design, develop and build the all-electric F-150 Lightning, but the 10-figure bet seems likely to pay off. The F-150 nameplate alone has the potential to push Ford far ahead of rivals such as GM and Rivian, especially since the Silverado EV won’t go into production until next year and Rivian’s trucks are higher-priced, niche vehicles.
Success hinges on Ford’s efforts to position its battery-electric truck to appeal to its traditional F-150 customer base. So far, demand for the Lightning, which will be assembled at Ford’s Rouge Complex in Dearborn, Michigan, has compelled Ford to double its planned annual production run to 150,000 vehicles.
We’ll be tuning in to hear more about where, when and how many of the Lightning trucks will be built as we look for evidence behind Ford CEO Jim Farley’s claim that the Ford-150 Lightning is a “Model T” moment.
Second electric truck
CEO Farley’s onstage announcement that Ford will build a second electric truck just as Lightning starts rolling off the line was unexpected among enthusiasts and industry watchers. However, the teaser left much to the imagination.
Farley didn’t provide details on the new model, but it’s likely to be smaller than the F-150 Lightning full-size pickup. He did say that it will be built at Ford’s new $5.6 billion Blue Oval City manufacturing complex in Stanton, Tennessee.
We will be tuning in for any details on the truck’s price, range, name or arrival date Ford might share, and we'll be sure to provide any info made available right here on TechCrunch.