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Ford delays electric 7-seater SUV because nobody wants one

Ford is delaying the rollout of an electric three-row sport utility vehicle by two years, extending the layoff of 2,700 workers in Canada who were set to begin building it in 2025.

The automaker said in a statement Thursday it is “retiming” the big SUV electric vehicle (EV) to debut in 2027 to “allow for the consumer market for three-row EVs to further develop.”

In addition, the carmaker said that deliveries of its electric F-Series pickup would push back into 2026 from late 2025.

Ford also said that it plans to offer hybrid versions of all its models by the end of this decade. The company’s hybrid sales jumped 42% in the first quarter, helping to lift overall sales by 7%.

The company’s shares rose 1.9% at 10:03 a.m. in New York on Thursday. Through Wednesday’s close the automaker had gained 12% this year.

The SUV delay, first reported last month by Bloomberg, is another sign of the slowdown in the US EV market as consumers balk at high prices and spotty charging infrastructure.

The factory in Oakville, Ontario, will cease producing gas-fueled Edge SUVs next month and was due to be converted this year to build the electric SUV.

Now the automaker said it is working with Unifor, the union representing Ford’s Canadian employees, to extend benefits to workers who are due to receive as much as 70% of pay while laid off.

“We are committed to taking care of our valued Oakville employees through this transition,” Bev Goodman, president of Ford Canada, said in the statement.

Unifor National President Lana Payne said in a statement that the union is “extremely disappointed” by Ford’s decision.

“Our members can be assured that we will push the company to explore every single possible opportunity to lessen the impact of this decision on them and their families.”

Ford said the site where the electric F-Series pickups will be built, a new BlueOval City Campus in Tennessee, is progressing on track.

Ford F150 Lightning

To stimulate waning consumer demand for EVs, Ford has pivoted to developing three small battery-powered models starting at $25,000 (R467,000) that are set to debut in late 2026, Bloomberg has reported.

Chief Executive Officer Jim Farley said the automaker has determined larger SUVs are too costly to attract mainstream buyers.

“We have decided pretty quickly to bet on smaller EV platforms,” Farley said in February at a Wolf Research conference, adding that customers have said that any EV bigger than its compact SUV Escape had “better be really functional or a work vehicle.”

The planned three-row electric SUV would be the size of a mid-sized Explorer, which is larger than an Escape.

Ford said in the release that it is looking to lower the cost of the EV SUV by utilizing “emerging battery technology.”

“We are committed to scaling a profitable EV business, using capital wisely, and bringing to market the right gas, hybrid, and fully electric vehicles at the right time,” Farley said in the statement.


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