By Claudia Assis
Ford Motor Co. Chief Executive Jim Farley took to Twitter Thursday to tout the auto maker’s plans to do “whatever it takes” to become the second largest electric-vehicle maker.
Farley, a longtime Ford executive who took the top job in October 2020 , joined Twitter in March 2019 but was not known for tweeting at a steady clip, let alone specific plans for the legacy auto maker.
Ford is approaching EVs the same way it approached building ventilators and PPE for COVID, he said: “Whatever it takes, find a way.”
Ford is planning to launch the electric versions of those iconic vehicles — the F-150 has been the U.S.’s bestselling vehicle for more than four decades — within the next year.
Farley said on Twitter the company plans to produce 600,000 EVs a year globally by the end of 2023, which is twice its original plan. EVs were like appliances, with no “emotion,” but that is changing, he said.
That was an “unprecedented move” by Farley, said Bill Selesky, an analyst with Argus Research. But companies are reevaluating how to get their message across, especially for a younger audience, he said.
In the modern corporate world, it is not only normal for CEOs to tweet detailed company plans, but it’s also expected, said Karl Brauer, an analyst with iSeeCars.
“There’s also the ongoing ‘frenemies’ relationship between Farley and (Tesla Inc. /zigman2/quotes/203558040/composite TSLA -1.82% Chief Executive Elon Musk), and I think both leaders enjoy the publicity it generates in the Twitterverse,” Brauer said.
The auto maker in October raised its outlook for the year and resumed its dividend, which sent its stock soaring.
Farley said at the time it was making “final preparations” to launch the F-150 Lightning, the all-electric version of the F-150 pickup, which had more than 160,000 reservations. The electric Mustang Mach-E is a hit with customers, and Ford will start production of the new electric Transit commercial van in a few weeks, Farley said.
Shares of Ford have gained 122% this year, nearly five times the gains for the S&P 500 index. /zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime SPX -1.84%
Newcomer EV makers such as Rivian Automotive Inc. /zigman2/quotes/230726939/composite RIVN -8.49% and Lucid Group Inc. /zigman2/quotes/221104327/composite LCID -7.13% , seem to have grabbed Wall Street’s imagination, however, and seen their market valuations soar above Ford and General Motors Co. /zigman2/quotes/205226835/composite GM -3.78% , which also has made EVs a focus.