Ford delays 3-row EVs as focus shifts to smaller, affordable products, sources say

Ford Motor Co. is delaying planned three-row electric vehicles similar in size to the Explorer and Lincoln Aviator as it focuses on smaller, more affordable EVs, according to people familiar with the company’s plans.

The three-row EVs, to be built in Canada at Ford’s planned Oakville Electric Vehicle Complex, were expected to go on sale in early 2025. Instead, Ford is shifting to launch an affordable EV on a small vehicle platform as early as late 2026, one of the people said.

That small crossover is expected to be built at the company’s Louisville Assembly Plant, the person said. The UAW and Ford agreed as part of its 2023 labor contract to add a new EV product to Louisville before the deal expires in 2028, although the parties did not specify timing.

Bloomberg first reported the delay of the three-row EV and timing of the affordable EV platform, citing unnamed sources. It reported Ford is planning three models on the new platform: a small SUV, a pickup and, potentially, a ride-hailing vehicle. The first of those models, due in late 2026, would start around $25,000, Bloomberg said.

A Ford spokesperson declined to comment on future product.

Ford CEO Jim Farley in February said the automaker was developing a new platform that would underpin smaller EVs with a team headed by Alan Clarke, who came to Ford two years ago after more than 12 years developing models for Tesla.

Farley said the company prioritized the new platform because the economics of smaller vehicles makes more sense for consumers. U.S. consumers are also balking at paying higher prices for EVs than a comparable gasoline-powered vehicle.

Ford’s EV unit lost $4.7 billion in 2023 and the automaker expects those losses to grow to $5 billion to $5.5 billion this year.

“What the customer has now said to us is, if you have [an EV] larger than Escape, it better be really functional or a work vehicle,” Farley said. “But if you do the economics for a vehicle, let’s say the Escape or smaller, it’s totally different, it completely works. In fact, it’s dramatically better operating cost than a Corolla or Civic or even a Maverick.”

Farley said smaller, cheaper EVs are needed to compete with Chinese automakers, which the head of Ford’s EV unit last month labeled a “colossal strategic threat.” Those companies sell large numbers of EVs in China and are expected to eventually enter the U.S. market.

“If you cannot compete fair and square with the Chinese around the world, then 20 to 30 percent of your revenue is at risk,” Farley said. “We have to fix this problem. We have to address this.”

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