Ford to outsell GM in electric vehicles — but not for long

·5 min read

Ford Motor Co. is expected to outsell its crosstown rival General Motors in electric vehicle sales in the U.S. this year, Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas said in a note to investors.

The note, released to the media on Tuesday, solidifies the narrative of Ford CEO Jim Farley that the company planned to go all-in on electric and pursue market share now dominated by Tesla.

Bob van Acker, 30, who lives in the historic Boston Edison neighborhood of Detroit was charging his Grabber Blue Ford Mustang Mach-E GT at First and Grand River in Detroit.
Bob van Acker, 30, who lives in the historic Boston Edison neighborhood of Detroit was charging his Grabber Blue Ford Mustang Mach-E GT at First and Grand River in Detroit.

Looking at the most current sales data of the Mustang Mach-E, which sold to 21,703 buyers through October, and the Chevy Bolt, which sold to 24,810 buyers, Ford is expected to trounce GM in the final two months because of the Bolt production halt. GM has recalled more than 141,000 Bolt vehicles for potential battery fire risk.

Jonas is careful to note that he's assuming the Mach-E will continue deliveries and points out that GM is planning to begin delivery of the $112,595 GMC Hummer EV by the end of 2021.

A Chevy Bolt EV getting a charge at Shaheen Chevrolet in Lansing on March 17, 2021.
A Chevy Bolt EV getting a charge at Shaheen Chevrolet in Lansing on March 17, 2021.

Morgan Stanley forecasts Ford's battery-electric vehicle sales to reach 150,000 vehicles in fiscal year 2022 or 3.5% of its volume; 473,000 by fiscal year 2025 or 11.5% of its volume, and 1.225 million vehicles by fiscal year 2030 or 33.7% of its volume.

"We forecast Ford's global passenger vehicle BEV volume to surpass GM's in FY22, while trailing GM modestly longer term," Jonas wrote.

Jim Cain, GM spokesperson, told the Free Press, "This isn’t a short-term gambit. We are out to change the world, we are investing $35 billion to make it happen, and everyone who charts a similar course is making a difference. But make no mistake about it: Our goal is to lead."

President Joe Biden, center, tours GM's Factory ZERO plant with UAW President Ray Curry (to Biden's right) and GM CEO Mary Barra (to Biden's left) on Nov. 17, 2021.
President Joe Biden, center, tours GM's Factory ZERO plant with UAW President Ray Curry (to Biden's right) and GM CEO Mary Barra (to Biden's left) on Nov. 17, 2021.

Early this month, GM CEO Mary Barra appeared on the DealBook online summit hosted by the New York Times' Andrew Ross Sorkin. He asked Barra her thoughts on Tesla’s valuation, which now exceeds $1.1 trillion, “without a lot vehicles on the road.”

By comparison, GM had a market value of $86.9 billion and Ford had a market value of $78.6 billion Tuesday morning.

Tesla's valuation shows that GM is “so undervalued," Barra said. "As the Hummer comes out yet this year, as the (2023 Cadillac) Lyriq comes out early next year, it’s just a steady run. We’ll have our own battery plant up and running next year. I see it as a huge opportunity for General Motors to capture significantly more value.”

GM is building two battery plants as part of its joint venture with LG Chem called Ultium LLC. One is in Spring Hill, Tennessee, and the other is in Lordstown, Ohio.

'We have been the leader'

Barra told Sorkin she views every competitor with respect and realizes, “we have to be better, be faster, have vehicles that consumers want to have” and “solve the ownership equation.”

Tesla has 63% of the EV market and GM has about a 9% share, Sorkin said, asking how Barra viewed the EV market segment shaping up in five years. Barra indicated GM would dominate EVs too, citing its leadership in sales of internal combustion engine cars.

“We have been the leader in the United States. We’ve been No. 2 in China for many years. When you want to get to 50% all EVs, you have to win customers that only drive one vehicle,” Barra said. “We’re incredibly well positioned and we’re not going to cede our leadership position to anyone.”

Adam Jonas, analyst at Morgan Stanley, alerted investors Nov. 29, 2021, that Ford is on track to sell more electric vehicles than General Motors in the U.S. in 2021 -- but GM will surge past Ford long term.
Adam Jonas, analyst at Morgan Stanley, alerted investors Nov. 29, 2021, that Ford is on track to sell more electric vehicles than General Motors in the U.S. in 2021 -- but GM will surge past Ford long term.

Meanwhile, Ford has announced billions in new and ongoing investments in all-electric technology — the latest being a new assembly plant to build all-electric F-Series trucks and three battery factories in Tennessee and Kentucky. Blue Oval City is a Ford partnership with SK Innovation in Stanton, Tennessee.

Ford had already announced an investment over the past two years of $950 million in the Rouge Complex in Dearborn to build the all-electric 2022 F-150 Lightning. The company has said it plans to invest an estimated $30 billion in EVs through 2025.

'Our ambition'

Farley tweeted a thread about Ford's electric future on Nov. 18 that said:

"It's a big moment for the auto industry. Early EVs were good for the environment, but lacked emotion. Like appliances. That's changing. @Ford's bet is different. We're taking iconic vehicles — Mustang, F-150, E-Transit — and making them even better as EVs. And more are on the way.

Our current EV lineup is wildly popular. #MustangMachE is selling on three continents #F150Lightning has +160k reservations and E-Transit will be huge in Europe & N. America Our job now is to meet the demand.

We're approaching it like we did building ventilators & PPE for Covid. Whatever it takes, find a way. And it's working. We are now expecting to produce 600,000 EVs/yr globally by end of 2023. 2x our original plan. And that’s BEFORE #BlueOvalCity & other EV sites come online.

We aim to become the 2nd biggest EV producer within the next couple years. Then as the huge investments we're making in EV and battery manufacturing come onstream and we rapidly expand our EV lineup, our ambition is for @Ford to become the biggest EV maker in the world."

Morgan Stanley forecasts GM's electric vehicle sales to reach 114,000 vehicles in fiscal year 2022, excluding the China mini-vehicle; 600,000 vehicles in fiscal year 2025 and 1.845 million vehicles by fiscal year 2030.

Tesla holds a solid lead in the EV race. The carmaker sold an estimated 264,360 vehicles in the U.S. through October of this year, according to industry sales figures.

More: Ford makes come-from-behind push with Mach-E as industry enters new era

More: Ford CEO Jim Farley gave us big clue automaker's stock was going to surge

Contact Phoebe Wall Howard: 313-222-6512 or phoward@freepress.com. Follow her on Twitter @phoebesaid. Sign up for our autos newsletter.

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Ford to outsell GM in EVs due to Mustang Mach-E sales, Chevy Bolt halt

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting