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Ford's new "Team Edison" is all about electricity

Ford Transit Custom FORD

The Ford F-Series has been a dependable profit maker for Ford (F, +2.48%), particularly in the US where it has been the best-selling vehicle for more than three decades.

While Hackett made it clear Ford intends to accelerate those new lines of business, he stressed that it plans to remain "in the vehicle business, moving goods and people around".

The company has noted that the demand for electric vehicles has the potential to increase as more governments join the likes of China and the United Kingdom in phasing out vehicles with internal combustion engines.

Ford will add new SUVs across global markets, including more rugged, off-road entries in the USA - where Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV's Jeep brand now dominates that category - as well as larger SUVs in China and other developing markets.

"When you're a long-lived company that has had success over multiple decades the decision to change is not easy - culturally or operationally", Hackett said during an investors meeting in NY on Tuesday (3 October). It wants at least 8-percent margins, and also to invest properly in autonomy and electrification (including the EV-focused Team Edison group, of which there are few details at the moment). Ford shares had risen 2.1 per cent on Tuesday, up with other automotive stocks as the industry reported the highest sales pace in a dozen years. The company will target $4 billion in product engineering and $10 billion in material costs.

He said Ford's future factories would have more robots and less space so that the time to make one auto would be reduced by 20 %.

Ford also pledged to redesign its factories and add 3D printing, robotics, and virtual reality tools to speed up the design, development, and production of its cars, trucks, and SUVs. Ford has previously announced that it will be launching 13 new electric or hybrid vehicles in next five years.

As well, "top hat" time to market, the time it takes Ford to fit an old vehicle platform with a new skin, is expected to fall by 20 percent, meaning faster turnarounds.

The company plans to boost its SUVs and trucks including the Ranger and EcoSport in North America and the all new Bronco globally. These indicators are leading Ford to feel a need to accelerate their own electrification strategy with the formation of a dedicated team. They also struggled to understand Ford's plans to compete on autonomous cars.

At the same time, development costs are on the chopping block. It did not say it would exit any vehicle segments, but rather that would continue in a more focused, reduced manner.