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Ford posts $3.1 billion loss for Q1 but signals supply-chain improvements ahead

Jordyn Grzelewski, The Detroit News on

Published in Automotive News

"It's very clear to us that battery capacity is the key unlock to our EV aspirations and to propel our growth in the future," Farley told investment analysts. "We're in good shape in the near term. In the medium- and long-term, securing raw materials, processing, precursor and refinement, and setting up battery production here in the U.S. and around the world is a big work statement for us. Expect a lot of news from Ford in the future related to the vertical integration of our EV business."

Executives also highlighted battery chemistries as a key area of focus, with Farley saying that chemistry would be "a really key part of our protection against commodity price increases."

Doug Field, a former Apple and Tesla executive who now serves as chief EV and digital systems officer for Ford's EV business unit, said that lithium iron phosphate, or LFP, battery cells "will be a part of our future."

LFP battery cells don't require nickel or lithium, materials that are in high demand.

EV market leader Tesla Inc. is moving to LFP battery cells in its products, and Rivian recently moved to do the same, CNBC reported.

"We're also looking at other chemistries that give us an opportunity to be less dependent on materials that everyone seems to be fighting over in the market," said Field.

 

Meanwhile, asked what message he would have for the metal and mining industry, Farley signaled Ford is open to collaboration.

“We need to work together and find good deals," he said. "We know what we’re looking for. We’re focused on lithium and nickel. We want to do smart deals that work for them and for us. And No. 2, we want to move some of the process into North America. And we’re willing to invest capital to move the processing, precursor work from overseas to North America for a variety of reasons.”

Ford's stock closed up 0.95% to $14.85 per share Wednesday. It was trading up after hours following the earnings report.

Investment research firm CFRA Research maintained its "strong buy" opinion on Ford stock Wednesday, but cut its 12-month price target to $22 per share "to account for a more bearish discretionary spending outlook and the impact of rising interest rates," analyst Garrett Nelson wrote in a note.

"With F-150 Lightning deliveries expected to commence imminently ... and a favorable view of the company's direction under CEO Jim Farley," he added, "the stock remains one of our top auto picks."

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