Ford “definitely” has a place for small EVs after SUVs

3 weeks, 6 days ago - 30 April 2024, autocar
Ford “definitely” has a place for small EVs after SUVs
Firm's European boss says there is space for smaller, lower non-SUVs as he looks to uphold core values

Ford has suggested it will offer smaller, lower-slung electric cars from 2026, once it has launched a family of four electric SUVs in Europe.

The firm has already retired the Fiesta and the Focus will bow out in 2025, leaving just the Mustang as its only non-SUV dedicated passenger car. Confirmed new cars on sale by the end of next year include the Explorer, ‘Capri’, electric Puma (called Gen-E) and updated Mustang Mach-E – all crossovers.

But asked if there’s a space for lower, non-SUV models in the future, the company’s boss in Europe, Martin Sander, said: “Definitely.”

As to whether Ford will still cater in the future to customers who don’t want an SUV, Sander said: “I think so.”

He told Autocar: “There are values which have made us successful over the last couple of years, like solid quality and value for money. We’re not walking away from this. These are basic fundamental values Ford has had globally for many years.

“You will see different quality in terms of design, interior, performance and equipment.

He cited the fit and finish of the new Explorer SUV as being of “a different level than you would have seen from Ford before” and said “this is what the brand deserves”. He added: “The brand is so rich and so powerful, and we have to do a better job of building the strength of the brand into our products in Europe.

Irrespective of the shape and size of any cars after the Explorer and Capri, Sander said Ford still has “not made a decision on future products after the two MEB products we are launching now”, referring to the Explorer and closely related Capri crossovers, which use the Volkswagen Group’s modular EV platform.

Ford’s supply deal with the German giant in theory could give it access to the new MEB Entry platform from the Volkswagen ID 2, Skoda Epiq and Cupra Raval for its own compact urban EV in the mould of the Fiesta.

But Ford revealed recently that it has a small ‘skunkworks’ team focused on its own entry-level electric car, tipped to cost as little as $25,000 (£19,700). Led by Tesla Model Y engineer Alan Clarke, the project was started two years ago in light of waning demand for high-priced premium electric cars.

Asked if this model could soon form the entry point into Ford’s European car line-up, Sander told Autocar: “We are looking into the opportunities of bringing future global Ford products to Europe, but the key principle of our future line-up for Europe will be iconic, emotional products.

We are not going back into a volume race just to hit a certain number at the plant or be in a segment where others are.”

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