Ford to Invest $4.5 Billion in Electrified Vehicles by 2020

11 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Ford Adds Another $4.5 Billion To Its Electric Car Ambitions.

Ford Motor Co is developing new ride-hailing services and investing $4.5-billion to expand its fleet of plug-in and hybrid electric vehicles, company executives said Thursday. Calif.-based CalAmp, a leading provider of wireless products, services and solutions, yesterday announced it submitted an unsolicited offer to acquire Boston-based LoJack Corp. for $5.50 in cash per outstanding share of LoJack common stock.Ford is betting big on electric vehicles by promising to invest another $4.5 billion and add 13 new electric cars to its lineup by 2020 along with expanding research into batteries.

The initiatives are part of a broader effort by Chief Executive Officer Mark Fields to counter threats posed by companies offering alternatives to car ownership and regulators who want vehicles to emit less carbon dioxide. Ford’s latest effort to explore the ride-hailing business will take the form of a fleet of specially designed Transit vans that company employees can hail using an app to get rides around the auto maker’s sprawling campus in Dearborn, Michigan.

CalAmp Chief Executive Michael Burdiek said the company has made three cash offers for LoJack in the past 14 months, but LoJack “has not demonstrated willingness to move toward actively negotiating a transaction.” In a news release, LoJack said it has opened a formal review of its strategic alternatives, including a sale, merger or remaining a standalone company. Ford executives said their intent is to develop a commercial ride-hailing service, not just to sell vehicles to ride-hailing companies such as Uber or Lyft. “The market for vehicle miles travelled is $5-trillion,” Fields said on the sidelines of a media presentation at Ford’s Dearborn design center. “We get zero of that.” Without offering specifics, Ken Washington, Ford’s vice president of research, said Ford is considering expanding the van-hailing service beyond its corporate campus, offering an alternative to rides in private cars or journeys on city buses. “Our vision is to be a mobility service provider, beyond building a vehicle that would be in somebody else’s fleet,” said Washington. “We see this as a business we want to be in.” As a vehicle maker, Washington said, Ford can more “seamlessly” integrate the software and hardware needed to operate a ride-hailing system. Tesla Motors Inc Chief Executive Elon Musk has dropped hints that he is considering some form of ride-sharing service in the future. “The auto names are late to the game,” said Mark Shurtleff, an analyst who tracks the ride-sharing and ride-hailing industries. Ford currently sells three electric cars: the Focus is all-electric, the Fusion is available as a hybrid and plug-in hybrid, and C-Max is available as a hybrid and plug-in hybrid. Ford’s electric vehicle push comes as rivals, including General Motors Co and Volkswagen AG are touting new electric vehicles aimed at satisfying governmental clean vehicle mandates and a still-small cadre of consumers who value zero-emission transportation.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc., based in Bentonville, Ark., confirmed yesterday that its chief marketing officer, Stephen Quinn, is retiring, and it is tapping into the talent of former Target executive Michael Francis as a consultant. Fields said it will launch late next year a new version of its Ford Focus electric car that has a 100-mile (160-km) range and can recharge in 30 minutes.

Francis is best known for his nearly 30-year career at Target, where he helped create the discounter’s cheap-chic image through whimsical advertising. • Vantage Builders Inc., a general contracting and construction firm based in Waltham, announced that Jay Peyser, above, has joined the firm as project manager. Ford has hired more than 120 engineers for its electric car program, which is based in its own facility called the Ford Engineering Laboratory in Dearborn. The 16-year construction industry veteran’s duties will include planning, coordinating, overseeing and providing safety management for the firm’s construction projects. Secretive Chinese-backed Faraday Future, which announced Thursday plans to build a $1 billion factory in Nevada, says it will produce its first car by 2017.

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