In a recent press release, Ford announced that it chose the company’s Valencia, Spain, plant for something special. But it was so busy being defensive about the choice that we learned a lot more about its plans for Germany than we did about the news in Spain.
What We (Don’t) Know About Ford’s Next-Gen Platform
Ford is currently one of the most active EV manufacturers outside of Tesla. By selling EVs that people actually want to buy (read: not making compliance cars), the company has been setting sales records and is beating everyone but Tesla in a number of categories. When it comes to vans, Ford is straight-up beating the whole industry right now. But its future success is going to require going all-in on EVs. Fortunately, it appears that the company is preparing to do just that.
While details are still sparse, one thing Ford is doing is developing its next-generation platform for a variety of EVs. Presently, vehicles like the F-150 Lightning and the E-Transit are adaptations of existing gas-powered platforms. To be fair, they’re actually really good adaptations, unlike earlier compliance cars, such as the Focus Electric. More importantly, it made sense to do it that way for those vehicles, because it would better serve their customers and provide more economy of scale by sharing parts.
But, to move forward, the company does need all-electric platforms that are optimized for future electric vehicles, and that’s what it is doing. We don’t know much about the platform yet, but Ford does call it its “next-gen platform.”
Ford’s Plans For The Next-Gen Platform in Europe, Seems Defensive
While we’re waiting for details from Ford, we do know that the company is making plans for where vehicles based on the next-gen platform are going to be built, and it appears that a recent move is somewhat controversial. In a recent press release, the company was proud to announce that a factory in Spain was chosen, but was also somewhat defensive about a German factory not getting picked.
Perhaps our European readers could shed more light on this, but from what I can gather, Ford was so worried that the Valencia news would make Germans angry that they spent most of the press release on Valencia talking about Germany.
“We are committed to building a vibrant, sustainable business in Europe as part of our Ford+ plan, and that requires focus and making tough choices,” said Jim Farley, Ford president and CEO. “The European auto industry is extremely competitive, and to thrive and grow we can never settle for less than unbelievably great products, a delightful customer experience, ultra-lean operations and a talented and motivated team.”
Ford is still spending $2 billion to convert the company’s Cologne plant to produce electric vehicles starting in 2023, which will contribute to plans to build 600,000 electric vehicles annually on the continent.
“Ford is investing heavily in electric vehicle manufacturing operations in Germany, and we are committed to the country as our headquarters location in Europe,” said Rowley. “We look forward to progressing this work with our partners in Germany and across the whole region. To secure new product in Europe we need winning product designs, outstanding technology and engineering, optimized sourcing and an evolution of our industrial operations to ensure they are fully oriented to an electrified world.”
Regarding Valencia, the only thing we learned from the press release was that Ford chose the company’s Valencia plant to be the “preferred site to assemble vehicles based on a next-generation electric vehicle architecture,” and that it will make a great set of vehicles “later this decade.” The choice came after “comprehensive consultations with teams in Valencia, Spain and Saarlouis, Germany.” So, again, more talk about Germany.
While the press release was certainly odd, it’s nice to see that Ford does have plans for a dedicated EV architecture and that they’re doing big things in Europe. Whatever controversy might be happening in that, it would be nice to learn more about the Valencia plant and what they’ll be doing there.
Featured image by Ford.
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