#167 – Inside Our Industry – Ford Blue President: Don’t Write Off ICE

Posted on | Inside Our Industry

We’ve always believed that there will be a market for ICE (internal combustion engines) vehicles for the foreseeable future. With so much focus on EVs (electric vehicles) or BEVs (battery electric vehicles), it seemed that ICE and hybrid vehicles had taken a back seat. Not so, says Ford Blue’s president, Kumar Galhotra. Following is the introduction to an interview for IndustryWeek.com. Click on the link at the bottom for more information on how Ford is working to reduce complexity in their assembly processes, as well as improve their supply chains.

Ford Blue President: Don’t Write Off ICE
Laura Putre  |  IndustryWeek.com  |  September 13, 2023

In 2022, Ford Motor Co.’s automotive business was divided into two groups: Model E, the electric vehicle side, and Ford Blue, the legacy internal combustion engine and hybrid vehicle side. Kumar Galhotra, Ford’s then-North American president—a leader known for finding and implementing operational efficiencies that increased profitability—was named president of Ford Blue.

Galhotra spoke at the Automotive News Congress on Wednesday about the viability of the internal combustion engine (his take: it’s still got plenty of life left), and how Ford Blue can become more efficient and better anticipate supply chain challenges.

On ICE Engines:

“Propulsion isn’t going to be as binary as folks thought. Even two, three years ago, it was going to be either internal combustion or pure BEVs. We think there’s going to be quite a bit in the middle. At least for us. Full hybrids are gonna play a big role, but even things like range extenders. There’s going to be a whole continuum. And from the Ford Blue perspective, we are investing in all of those categories.”

In the Chinese market, the continuum is already in play, Galhotra says. “It’s shocking how many different propulsion systems there are between pure ICE and pure BEV.” The continuum will be necessary to balance compliance with being profitable.

Galhotra notes that Ford is No. 3, behind Toyota and Honda, in hybrid sales. As demand for the hybrid Maverick truck in 2023 has outpaced production, Ford recently added a third shift to the Maverick plant in Hermosillo, Mexico. “We are actually building on the third shift, and there’s still not enough vehicles.”

Full interview.