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Old 03-29-2012, 03:48 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Transit Connect Bankruptcy Omen For the Focus EV?

Excellent article by John Voelcker over at greencarreports.com

How does the bankruptcy of Azure Dynamics, inform what is happening with the Focus EV? Not much I should think.

Essentially Ford was providing AZD with gliders. These are complete vehicles, but without any power train. AZD then installed an electric power train. Sales were handled through AZD not Ford.

Obviously the sale of 500 Transit Connect gliders was not Fordís motivation on this project. Presumably Ford has some sort of arrangement to share data on the conversion process, the parts used, and their performance in the real world.

A Pre-Production process where another company takes on all the expense and risks, and Ford shares in the knowledge gained. If it became a large lucrative market, it wouldnít surprise me to find that Ford had clauses to bring the process in house.

Itís the kind of arrangement that GM would probably turn its nose up at. Yes even the new GM that dared to build the Volt. But it is probably this very kind of tight fisted attitude towards expenses that kept Ford from having to go to DC hat in hand.

AZD left open the possibility of resumed production after bankruptcy.

John points out that these cargo vans represent but a fraction of possible sales of cars to consumers. Suggesting that the Focus EV is much more important to Ford. Indeed. Ford is not shipping off glider FFEs to be converted elsewhere, they are bringing in the components and doing that process themselves and they are of course handling sales through the regular channels.

John also raises the question of why only 10 FFEs sold at this point? Ford as usual is being tight lipped. The speculation from a post here was that:

Ford is working through a problem.

Ford is waiting to get MyFordTouch right, which they have seemingly done since they recently sent out an update.

Ford is pushing back the rollout as much as possible because the cost of major EV components is dropping rapidly.

I will add that reflecting on this AZD situation has led me to think that maybe Fordís slow rollout is really allowing them to use customers in the wild as part of the pre mass production validation process.

Yes, the very earliest adopters may be proofing these cars, but fear not dear guinea pig, if issues arise, Ford will certainly want to make it right.
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