Ford has announced a delay in the start of series production for its highly anticipated, the Explorer SUV 2023, at its Cologne facility. The delay, which spans approximately six months, is due to the automaker’s decision to await the availability of a new generation of battery technology from Volkswagen (VW).
New Production Timeline for Explorer SUV 2023
The production of the Ford Explorer SUV is now scheduled to commence in the summer of the following year, as confirmed by Ford’s Germany chief during an interview at the Munich IAA car show. Discussions are currently underway to assess the implications of this delay for the workforce at the Cologne site.
Workforce Implications and Commitment to No Layoffs
In February, Ford made public its intentions to reduce its workforce in Europe, with plans to cut one out of every nine jobs, including 2,300 positions at the Cologne and Aachen sites in Germany. However, the company also committed to avoiding compulsory layoffs at these sites until the end of 2032.
Ford’s Electric Vehicle Expansion Plans
Presently, Ford offers two all-electric SUVs and an e-Transit van in Europe. However, the automaker has ambitious plans to introduce seven new electric models by 2024. Among these, two will be produced at the Cologne facility, and one will be manufactured in Romania.
Production of Second New Model of Explorer SUV 2023
The production of the second new model in Cologne, also based on Volkswagen’s MEB platform, is set to begin a few weeks after the first one. Although specific production targets for the new models have not been announced, Ford intends to gradually ramp up production in response to the growing demand for electric vehicles.
Ambitious Sales Targets
In 2022, Ford registered 516,614 new passenger cars in Europe, resulting in a market share of 4.6%, according to the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA). Ford has set ambitious goals to substantially increase its electric vehicle sales in Europe, with a target of over 600,000 electric vehicle sales by 2026.
Strategic Decision for Competitive Edge
The decision to delay production reflects Ford’s strategic approach to leverage advanced battery technology and enhance its electric vehicle offerings to remain competitive in the European market. The move underscores Ford’s commitment to delivering high-quality electric vehicles that meet the evolving needs and expectations of European consumers.