Ford's EV Division Had a Bad First Quarter

Photo:  Ford
Photo: Ford

Last week, Ford released its financial reports from the first quarter of 2023. The top lines are all what you’d expect from a major automotive brand — hundreds of thousands of units moved, billions of dollars raked in, the Edge referred to as “iconic.” But within the slides, numbers, and meaningless marketing drivel, another story emerged: Ford’s Model E division costs the company a lot.

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Specifically, Ford lists Model E as being 722 million dollars in the red for the first quarter of 2023. The company tried to paper over these losses by saying Model E “operates like a startup,” which seems to just mean “spends money to develop new supply chain links.” It’s investing in factories for both vehicles and batteries, neither of which are cheap to produce.

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But not all of those losses are attributable to sensible investments. Ford idled its Mach E plant in Cuautitlan, Mexico early in the year to upgrade the facility, which of course reduced actual Mach E production. That’s a double hit — spending money to upgrade the factory, while losing money on cars you can’t sell because they were never built.

Revenue is down at Model E, and costs are way up. Ford’s financial releases, unfortunately, aren’t quite detailed enough to verify the company’s claims that “investment” is driving its losses—though the company also blames “spending-related expense, commodities, and other inflationary pressures.” That sounds less like a startup, and more like a broadly bad financial situation.

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