Ford ditching three nameplates to build more electric vehicles
Ford expects its electric-car division to lose about $4.5 billion in 2023, yet the brand plans to continue investing in battery-powered vehicles at the expense of at least three familiar nameplates. It will soon send the Edge, the Escape and the Transit Connect to the chopping block.
Industry trade journal Automotive News reported that the three models are living on borrowed time. Without citing sources, it wrote that the Edge will retire from the American market in 2024 so that Ford can use the Oakville, Canada, plant that builds it to manufacture EVs. The model could live on in overseas markets, like China, and there's no word yet on what the future holds for the Edge-based Lincoln Nautilus.
Next up is the Transit Connect (pictured below), which will leave the American market after the 2023 model year. In March 2023, Ford cited "efforts to reduce global manufacturing cost and complexity, alongside decreased demand for the compact van segment" as reasons for the van's demise. Don't be surprised if you see a new Transit Connect on a future trip to Europe, however: the model will carry on in some European markets.
Finally, the fourth and current generation of the Escape (pictured at top) will allegedly be the last. While the crossover received a round of updates for 2023, Automotive News learned it will exit the Ford portfolio in 2025 to make space for an electric model that hasn't been announced yet.
Meanwhile, the Blue Oval is reportedly working on an array of electric cars that will reach showrooms in the coming years. One is a pickup that will enter production in 2025. Company boss Jim Farley described it as "a platform for endless innovation and capability" that should be easier and cheaper to build than the F-150 Lightning because it will require fewer parts. It's too early to tell whether this truck will join the F-150 line-up or if it will be marketed as a standalone model. The current Lightning might retire in 2026 to make space for the new model.
Another EV in the pipeline, according to the same report, will offer Explorer-like dimensions, three rows of seats, and approximately 350 miles of range. This model isn't related to the European-market, Volkswagen-based Explorer, and it might not wear the storied nameplate. It's this crossover that will replace the Edge on the Oakville assembly line once the plant gets renovated to build electric vehicles.
Ford isn't forgetting about the gasoline-burning models that make up the bulk of its annual sales and profits in 2023. It will unveil the updated F-150 at the 2023 Detroit auto show, and the truck will reach showrooms as a 2024 model. The range could grow to include a lowered, street-focused variant called Lobo. The next-generation F-150 will make its debut in 2026 on a new platform, according to Automotive News.
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