Ford Motor's gas-powered trucks and sport utility vehicles helped rake in a surprise fourth-quarter profit, generating a down payment on the nearly $30 billion the company is proposing to allocate on building its own electric and self-driving next-generation vehicles, Bloomberg reported Friday.
The automaker said it was doubling its investment in battery-powered vehicles through 2025 and increasing its total investment in self-driving cars to $7 billion from $4 billion and $22 billion on electric ones.
So far, the company has announced three new electric vehicles, the Mach-E, the e-Transit van set for roll-out this fall and a battery-powered F-150 scheduled for launch next year. Ford's latest version of the F-150 pickup is the best-selling vehicle in the U.S for 40 years.
Jim Farley, Ford's new chief executive officer, touted the car manufacturer's added investment as a "more aggressive" strategy to position the country's pioneering auto builder as a leader in the future of transportation.
According to Andrew Hawkins of The Verge, Ford's increased investment is intended to persuade Wall Street investors who seemed to have doubted Ford's capacity to catch up to Tesla, which has been the only auto company to successfully establish an electric vehicle business over the last few years.
Ford's ramped-up investment is also a response to the bold initiative being crafted by General Motors, which targets all zero-emission vehicle versions by 2035.
Ford said it has not disclosed any other specific EVs yet, but as part of its latest agreement with the Canadian UNIFOR union, the company did commit to manufacturing EVs at the Oakville, Ontario assembly facility. Mexico is building the Mach-E, Dearborn, Michigan will make the F-150 and the Kansas City facility will assemble the e-Transit, in addition to Oakville.
Ford reported adjusted earnings per share of 34 cents that easily beat the 7-cent loss estimate by analysts. The company's shares were up as much as 4.4% during extended trading before paring gains to trade up 0.6% on Thursday. The stock earlier closed up 1.5% to $11.37.
Meanwhile, Ford has terminated joint venture EV plans with China's Zotye Automobile, the financially-wracked automaker that's fighting to survive, the U.S. company said Thursday.
Ford said China's EV industry and government policies had undergone major changes since it signed the deal with Zotye in 2017, prompting the decision.