Ford Increasing Electric Vehicle Investment to $11 Billion by 2022

By Mike ColiasFeaturesDow Jones Newswires

A top Ford Motor Co. executive said the company will now spend $11 billion on electrified vehicles through 2022, increasing its previous estimates as it races to catch up on battery-powered cars.

The Dearborn, Mich., auto maker previously committed $4.5 billion in spending on electrified products by 2020 and said in October it would divert an additional $500 million from conventional products -- including gasoline-powered products -- over a five-year span. The $11 billion commitment comes at a time when gasoline or diesel engines powered nearly all of the 90 million vehicles sold globally in 2017.

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Ford's estimate was delivered during a press conference at the Detroit auto show, which opens this week. Jim Farley, Ford's head of global markets, said the company aims to make its electric vehicles more attractive to everyday buyers than it had in the past.

Few other auto makers are breaking out specific investment numbers related to electric vehicles. Volkswagen AG, looking to recover following a diesel-emissions scandal in the U.S., has committed to spend $40 billion on electrified vehicles over the next five years.

Ford, earning the bulk of its profits from big pickup trucks and sport-utility vehicles, has also said it would shift about $7 billion toward development of even more trucks and SUVs. The auto maker unveiled one of the more important products in that push on Sunday, a bulky Ford Ranger pickup headed to U.S. dealers in early 2019.

Even as trucks and SUVs represent a growing share of U.S. sales and profits, auto companies are investing in electric vehicles in an attempt to meet tighter regulations, particularly in China. To get customers interested, Mr. Farley said car makers need to think about electric vehicles differently.

"What we learned from this first cycle of electrification is people want really nice products," Mr. Farley told reporters. "We want to make [EVs] that are aspirational, that are iconic nameplates, with a customer base."

Ford today sells only one fully-electric vehicle in the U.S., the Focus compact car. Its Mustang sports car, F-150 pickup truck or other products, however, carry much stronger appeal.

Mr. Farley said Ford would offer a "very wide range" of electric vehicles in Europe and the U.S., including electric sports car scheduled to arrive in 2020.

"We want to make this a statement about the company, that we're electrifying our iconic vehicles."

Write to Mike Colias at Mike.Colias@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

January 14, 2018 18:38 ET (23:38 GMT)