Mar 2, 2022 - Economy & Business

Why Ford split up its EV and gas cars

and hand picking up a small green car

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Ford's iconic blue oval is staying in tact, but the company's business is being split into the old and the new.

  • The automaker is creating one division devoted to internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles and one dedicated to electric vehicles and software — each with their own profit-and-loss statements. Another unit will focus on commercial and government customers.

Why it matters: The traditional auto industry wants credit from investors for its EV investments, desiring the type of investor interest in startups Rivian and Lucid Motors, which focus exclusively on EVs.

Details: "Model e" will encompass Ford's EVs, while "Ford Blue" will house the conventional car business, including the automaker's gas-powered F-series pickups.

  • "Old Ford, new Ford" is how Autotrader analyst Michelle Krebs describes it to Axios, mimicking a description once used to describe General Motors before and after bankruptcy.

Yes, but: Ford, like GM, ruled out an outright spinoff of its EV division, which some investors were clamoring for in hopes that the standalone unit would generate substantial value.

  • The company hopes the new division will "behave like an EV startup," Krebs says.

What we're watching: The ICE division, Ford Blue, will be the cash cow for the foreseeable future, fueled by highly profitable SUVs and pickups. But what happens to that division when EVs eventually dominate?

  • Ford Blue "will deliver deep manufacturing know-how and scale to the entire enterprise," Ford CFO John Lawler told investors Wednesday.
  • But the division will also be targeted for $3 billion in cost cuts, the automaker said.

The bottom line: Expect the traditional auto industry to continue reshaping itself to invest more resources into electric vehicles.Editor's Note: Cox Enterprises, the parent of Autotrader, is also an investor in Axios.

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