So many traditional carmakers that have had a very constant business model for decades, selling incrementally better ICE vehicles, are now faced with having to drop doing what they know best and shift their focus on electric vehicles seemingly too quickly for some. Certain companies are adapting better than others and according to Ford CEO Jim Farley, some will not survive the changes, at least not in their current form.
Farley thinks that between the push for electrification, some companies’ drive to sell vehicles themselves, the cutting out of the traditional dealership model, as well as the plethora of new EV startups (many of which are based in China) will lead to what he describes as “a shakeout.” He also believes that this new direction the industry is heading in will benefit “many of the Chinese new players,” as they will get a better foothold in the US.
He goes on to say
No doubt about it, we're going to see very large consolidation. Big changes.
I just don't see the addressable market these companies are going after being big enough to justify the capital they're spending.
Joint ventures and even high level mergers among bit automotive players are also predicted to become more common in the future, in Farley’s view. Even Ford is showing signs of this, having partnered up with Volkswagen to use the latter’s MEB platform in one of its own EVs.
Ford will use MEB as the base for two electric crossovers that will look distinctly American, even though they will be based on a German platform. These will be part of a group of four new electric crossovers that the Blue Oval wants to add to its range by 2024, trying to make up lost ground between it and rivals whose electrification scheme is more advanced.
Partnerships are hard.
We've been in business for 118 years, and we probably have one partnership that worked really well: Ford Otosan in Turkey. Often they come down to the character of the leaders.
Ford has done a good job getting electric commercial vehicles and the F-150 Lightning out quite quickly, consolidating its position as a segment leader early on, but when it comes to passenger cars, it’s really not as advanced as some of its traditional rivals. The fact that Ford is using a Volkswagen platform in one of its own vehicles is acknowledgement that the German company is further along and already a big electric passenger car player.