Ford Motor Co. plans to build parts internally for its electric vehicles to offset the estimated 40% reduction in workers needed to build these vehicles, reported CEO Jim Farley.
Farley compared the strategy to the early days of auto manufacture when automakers made most components put in a vehicle. “We’re going back to where we were at the beginning of the century. Why? Because that’s where the value creation is. It’s a huge transformation,” Farley told reporters at an auto conference for the Rainbow Push Coalition.
Building more parts in-house rather than purchasing them from other suppliers makes financial sense and retains jobs, he said. The move, he added, will require Ford to build businesses for key components rather than acquire them.
The company purchased motors and batteries for the Mustang Mach-E crossover, but Farley said that in the future, that would not be necessary.
Ford is building two lithium-ion battery plants in central Kentucky as part of a joint venture with SK Innovation of South Korea. The venture is called BlueOvalSK. Ford also plans a 3,600-acre, $11.4 billion campus in west Tennessee.
Unionizing joint-venture battery plants will be up to workers of these plants, but Farley said Ford would be “thrilled” to have such representation. Currently, the United Auto Workers union is trying to organize a joint-venture battery plant between GM and LG Energy Solution in Ohio.