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The Threat of China’s Low-Priced EVs Force a New Electric Ford Small SUV and Truck

Source: Electrify News - March 20th 2024.

  • Ford is planning an affordable small SUV and truck, pivoting from large EVs to smaller, low-cost ones; plans for an electric three-row SUV have been delayed.

  • China’s BYD Seagull EV, priced at under $10,000, sets a new bar for global automakers, forcing Detroit to make lower-priced models.

  • Ford CEO Jim Farley warned that failure to compete on cost could result in a staggering loss of up to 30% of revenue for companies unable to compete globally in the near future.

An all-electric, cheap small Ford SUV is in the planning stages, with the goal of a sticker price of $25,000 or less.

Auto executives and politicians in Washington are raising concerns over what they describe as a potential existential threat from the growing competition posed by China in the automotive industry. The Alliance for American Manufacturing has been vocal in advocating for the implementation of new protectionist trade measures against China. Their aim is to forestall what they fear could become an “extinction-level event” for the domestic car manufacturing sector, highlighting the urgency of safeguarding American jobs and preserving the competitive edge of U.S. automotive brands in the global market.

The Ford small SUV will be manufactured on a new electric platform, also producing an affordable small pickup truck that could be electric equivalent to Maverick, according to various media reports.

The BYD Seagull Threatens Global EV Prices

The BYD Seagull emerges as a pivotal example of an inexpensive Chinese EV, with its most astounding feature: the $9,698 price tag. The Chinese Seagull significantly undercuts the average American EV’s cost, which can still be under $40,000 but can also easily exceed $60,000.

This aggressive pricing strategy not only places BYD — which eclipsed Tesla Inc. as the world’s largest electric vehicle producer in late 2023 — at a considerable advantage, but it also signals a monumental shift in the competitive landscape. American automakers, traditionally focused on manufacturing high-end EVs catering to wealthier demographics, now face the pressing imperative to adapt.

In response to the disruptive pricing of the BYD Seagull and its implications for the global automotive market, major car manufacturers like Ford Motor Co. and Tesla are rapidly reevaluating their EV strategies. Recognizing the significant threat posed by cheap Chinese EVs, these companies are diligently working to adapt and compete in this new market environment.

Ford Needs a Small SUV to Truly Compete

Ford CEO Jim Farley called the Seagull “pretty damn good” and highlighted the critical need for automakers to match the competitive edge offered by Chinese manufacturers. Farley warns that failure to do so could result in a staggering loss of up to 30% of revenue for companies unable to compete globally in the near future.

Chinese brands have already secured a strong presence in crucial regional markets like Europe, Mexico, and the Middle East. This growing foothold underscores the intense pressure on American companies producing EVs to innovate. The fear is not unfounded; if American carmakers fail to evolve alongside their Chinese counterparts, they risk being sidelined in a future where electric mobility is mainstream.

In response to the challenge posed by Chinese EV manufacturers, Ford is pivoting its strategy to focus on the development of small EV SUVs and trucks. The company has established a specialized team in Irvine, California, dedicated to this endeavor. This pivot would include a potential $25,000 Ford EV.

This strategic move by Ford into creating a cheap EV SUV and truck signals a significant step toward innovation and competitiveness in the smaller EV market segment, aiming to match the pace of global industry standards and consumer expectations for electric mobility.

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