Ford launches hybrid, electric vehicle blitz

Ford's upcoming small off-road crossover SUV

Ford's upcoming small off-road crossover SUVEnlarge

- The two off-road vehicles created to compete with Jeep and Land Rover will be the new Bronco midsize SUV and a yet-to-be named small sport utility.

The automaker's head of global operations, Joe Hinrichs, told Fox News that he's seeing a growth in demand for off-road capable vehicles as more and more people are taking part in adventurous leisure activities. Farley cites the F-150 Raptor as the ideal example of that, a performance truck - which, the exec points out, outsold Porsche's entire vehicle lineup in the USA 2017 - that balances speed, on-road comfort, and flexibility.

Safety and telematics technologies are also high on the rebooted agenda, which comes as sedan and hatchback sales continue to slump across the industry and Ford's stock price remains stuck in first gear.

Ford unveiled its new-product strategy.

Ford is planning an SUV-driven product blitz over the next two years that includes a redesigned Explorer, a hybrid-powered Bronco and an all-electric high performance utility now codenamed Mach 1.

These sporty new SUVs have got us wondering about other specialty versions of Ford SUVs like an Explorer or Edge with more of an off-road focus, kind of like the F-150 Raptor. Additionally, by the end of 2019, every new Ford will have 4G LTE connectivity, and the company is developing a new cloud platform that will deliver over-the-air updates.

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The US-based global auto maker overnight mapped out its future plans for the North American market with hybrid drivetrains including plug-ins spreading across the Mustang, an "entirely new" Escape, and the Bronco that's based on the Ford Australia designed and developed T6 Ranger/Everest platform (pictured, below). The auto maker has also indicated the Mustang is moving away from V8 power for its hybrid version, saying it would deliver "V8-like performance with more low-end torque". "We've moved past hybrids being a science project".

But we'll have to wait another two years for them to appear in showrooms; roll-out isn't due until 2020.

The move, detailed at a presentation on Thursday at Ford's product development center in Dearborn, Michigan, comes at a time when Ford's aging lineup has had trouble appealing to USA customers. "In addition to expanding our electric vehicle lineup, we are redesigning the ownership experience to ensure it addresses customer pain points that now hold back broad adoption today".

Among the vehicles slated for hybridization starting in 2020 are the F-150 pickup, Explorer, Escape and Bronco SUVs and the Mustang, followed by six battery-electric vehicles by 2022.

As cars decline, trucks and SUVs will make up 86% of Ford's lineup by 2020, including four new trucks and SUVs that will be part of a wider range of electrified offerings, company officials outline at a media briefing here.

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