Ford to say goodbye to petrol in Europe by 2030

The Detroit car maker will invest $1bn to upgrade its vehicle assembly facility in Cologne

FILE - In this May 4, 2020 file photo, a container ship passes the Ford car plant in Cologne, Germany, as the US car maker restarts the production after the coronavirus lockdown. Ford says it will spend $1 billion to modernize its Cologne, Germany, manufacturing center, converting it into a European electric vehicle factory. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)
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Ford said it will go all-electric in Europe by 2030 as it committed to invest $1 billion to upgrade its main assembly unit in Cologne, Germany.

The Detroit car maker is aiming for its entire passenger vehicle fleet in Europe to be “zero-emissions capable, all-electric or plug-in hybrid” by 2026 and be completely electric by 2030.

“We are charging into an all-electric future in Europe with expressive new vehicles and a world-class connected customer experience,” Ford Europe’s president Stuart Rowley said.

“Our announcement today to transform our Cologne facility, the home of our operations in Germany for 90 years, is one of the most significant Ford has made in over a generation,” Mr Rowley said, adding that it underlined the company’s commitment to Europe and a modern future with electric vehicles at the heart of its growth strategy.

The company said its entire commercial vehicle range will be zero-emissions capable, all-electric or plug-in hybrid by 2024.

Restrictive emissions and fuel-efficiency regulations have forced car manufacturers to focus on vehicles that are more environmentally-friendly.

This week, Jaguar Land Rover said its luxury brand Jaguar will go all-electric by 2025 as it aims to become a net-zero carbon business by 2039.

FILE - In this Oct. 9, 2018 file photo, workers assemble the new Deutsche Post StreetScooter Work XL electric delivery van at the Ford car plant in Cologne, Germany. Ford says it will spend $1 billion to modernize its Cologne, Germany, manufacturing center, converting it into a European electric vehicle factory.  (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)

Last month, General Motors, the largest US car maker, said it plans to eliminate petrol and diesel light-duty cars, including SUVs, by 2035.

South Korean car maker Kia is planning to launch its first EV in the first quarter of this year, while Germany’s Volkswagen, the second-largest car maker by sales last year, plans to unveil about 70 new electric models by 2028.

Ford's announcement followed strong earnings generated in Europe in the fourth quarter of last year. In the three months to December 31, its European division made $300m in adjusted earnings before interest and tax, or about 30 per cent of the group's total Ebit of about $1bn. This was its strongest quarterly profit for four years, with an Ebit margin of 5.8 per cent.

“We expect to continue our strong momentum this year in Europe and remain on track to deliver our goal of a 6 per cent Ebit margin as part of Ford’s plan to turnaround our global automotive operations,” said Mr Rowley.

The $1bn investment in the Cologne plant will transform existing vehicle assembly operations into an electrification centre for the manufacturing of EVs. The company's first European-built, all-electric passenger vehicle will be produced at the facility from 2023.

To upgrade its technology prowess, Ford has joined forces with Google to form a collaborative group, Team Upshift, to work on data-driven opportunities.

“This partnership in combination with Ford’s in-house capabilities will be the basis of transformed ownership experiences and services for both the company’s commercial and passenger vehicle customers,” the company said.