Auto consultants say the electrical F-150, often known as the Lightning, should be successful if Ford is to thrive within the age of electrical automobiles. Introducing this truck now could be equal to “betting the corporate,” stated William C. Ford Jr., the corporate’s govt chairman, who’s a great-grandson of Henry Ford. “If this launch doesn’t go properly, we are able to tarnish the complete franchise.”
A Crucial Yr for Electrical Autos
As the general auto market stagnates, the recognition of battery-powered vehicles is hovering worldwide.
The corporate has amassed about 200,000 reservations for the vehicles, however it may nonetheless stumble. Manufacturing could possibly be slowed by the worldwide chip scarcity or the surging prices of lithium, nickel and different uncooked supplies essential to batteries. The software program that Ford has developed for the truck could possibly be flawed, an issue that hampered gross sales of a brand new electrical Volkswagen in 2020.
Ford and Mr. Farley do have some issues going for them. In contrast to many different electrical vehicles, the F-150 Lightning is comparatively reasonably priced — it begins at $40,000. Tesla’s least expensive automotive is the compact Mannequin 3 sedan, which begins at greater than $48,000. The Lightning has tons of storage, together with a large entrance trunk, which is interesting to households and companies with giant truck fleets. And it helps that Tesla is not going to start making its Cybertruck till subsequent yr.
And Ford can be already within the E.V. recreation with the Mustang Mach-E, an electrical sport utility car. It had gross sales of greater than 27,000 in 2021, its first yr available on the market, and gained favorable opinions.
Manufacturing of the F-150 Lightning is scheduled to begin subsequent Monday. Competing fashions from Normal Motors, Stellantis and Toyota — Ford’s predominant rivals in pickups — are at the very least a yr away. Rivian, a more moderen producer that Ford has invested in, has begun promoting an electrical truck however is struggling to extend manufacturing.
“If the Lightning launch goes properly, we’ve an unlimited alternative,” Mr. Ford stated.
In some ways, Mr. Farley checks a lot of the bins relating to main a big U.S. automaker. Like Mary T. Barra, the chief govt of G.M., whose father used to work on a Pontiac meeting line, Mr. Farley has household roots within the business: His grandfather labored at a Ford manufacturing unit. On visits to his grandfather, he would tour Ford crops and different websites necessary to the corporate’s historical past. As a 15-year-old, he purchased a Mustang whereas working in California one summer season and drove it house to Michigan with out a license. His grandfather nicknamed him “Jimmy Automobile-Automobile.”
However like Mr. Musk, a local of South Africa who was a founding father of PayPal and different corporations, Mr. Farley has had a diverse profession and been concerned in creating companies. Born in Argentina when his father was working there as a banker, Mr. Farley, 59, additionally lived in Brazil and Canada when he was rising up. His profession began not within the auto business however at IBM. He spent an extended stretch at Toyota. He helped the Japanese automaker overcome its fame for making boring and economical vehicles by engaged on its fledgling Lexus luxurious model, now a powerhouse.