Ford Motor Co executives on Thursday disclosed ambitious plans to shift the struggling automaker's product portfolio from passenger cars to SUVs, add more hybrid and pure electric vehicles, and reduce development and manufacturing costs - moves aimed at boosting Ford's profit and share price.
Ford hasn't forgotten about cars, though, with the confirmation that the Mustang Shelby GT500 will be in showrooms by 2020. Now, the automaker is driving toward a near-term future in which cars account for only 14 percent of its volume, with SUVs and trucks growing to around 86 percent of North American sales.
The strategy focuses on shifting attention to high-margin trucks, SUVs and performance vehicles, while also offering electrified versions of the bulk of its lineup, including its iconic full-size F-150 truck. In addition to a hybrid version of the current pony auto, the return of the Shelby GT500 promises street legal performance off the charts and a Ford showroom with the unusual distinction of offering both the GT350 and GT500 at the same time.
Now for its SUVs, Ford recently introduced the new Expedition and EcoSport models, but its mainstream models are next. These additions include the new Edge ST SUV and a soon-to-follow Explorer ST. Next year, Ford will also rollout a reverse brake assist system with automatic emergency braking to help prevent backing up into things like pole and other vehicles in parking lots.
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For trucks, Ford highlights its new diesel engine for the F-150, the resurrected Ranger, new Super Duty F-Series and the new hybrid F-150.
Ford was basically forced to offer more than 700 horsepower in the new Shelby - its arch-rival, Chevrolet, offers the Camaro ZL1 with 650 hp, and of course Dodge's Challenger Hellcat brings 707 hp to the table, never mind the Challenger Demon's 840 hp. "On the F-150 Hybrid, Ford will lean in to capability, such as the low-end torque for extra pulling power and the fact it can serve as a mobile generator", Ford reports in the release.
Speaking specifically about the former, it means that all aspects of a vehicle can be updated over the air instead of just the Sync platform. The automaker will work on a new hybrid system it says will be more efficient and less expensive than ever before.
Each model will have a different focus for its hybrid system - the Mustang's, for instance, will be performance-oriented, giving the ability of a big V-8 sports auto with improved low-end torque.
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