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UPDATE 2-Ford boosts investment plan for EVs and self driving vehicles, reports loss

· 02/04/2021 16:22
UPDATE 2-Ford boosts investment plan for EVs and self driving vehicles, reports loss

Adds detail on Q4 and full-year financials

By Ben Klayman and Paul Lienert

- Ford Motor Co F.N on Thursday boosted the amount of money it plans to invest on electric and autonomous vehicles to $29 billion even as it posted a fourth-quarter net loss of $2.8 billion.

The No. 2 U.S. automaker also said the global semiconductor chip shortage could lead to a 10% to 20% loss in first-quarter production.

For the year, Ford reported a net loss of $1.3 billion, or 32 cents a share, compared with a modest profit the previous year of 1 cent a share.

Ford had a loss in the fourth quarter of $2.8 billion, or 70 cents a share, compared with a loss of $1.7 billion, or 42 cents a share, a year earlier.

The company projected operating earnings would climb to $8 billion to $9 billion in 2021, compared with $2.8 billion last year. The 2021 figure includes a $900 million non-cash gain on Rivian, the electric vehicle startup in which Ford has invested, but does not include the effect of the ongoing global semiconductor shortage.

Vehicle production lost because of the chip shortages could lower Ford's 2021 operating earnings by $1.0 billion to $2.5 billion, according to Chief Financial Officer John Lawler.

Ford said it was "doubling down" on connected electric vehicles, saying it will invest $22 billion in electrification through 2025, nearly twice what it had previously committed to EVs. Chief Executive Jim Farley said Ford is “all in and will not cede ground to anyone” on EVs.

Ford also said it will invest $7 billion in self-driving, or autonomous, technology development.

"We are accelerating all our plans," Farley said in a statement, including increasing battery capacity and adding more electric vehicles in its future portfolio.

Ford previously committed to invest $11.5 billion in electrification, including gasoline-electric hybrid vehicles, through 2022. That included the launch of the Mustang Mach-E EV crossover, and electric versions of the F-150 pickup and Transit van.

U.S. rival General Motors Co GM.N has said it will spend $27 billion by 2023 on electric and autonomous vehicles. It said it plans to offer 30 EVs globally by 2025 and is targeting topping annual sales of 1 million EVs in the United States and China by 2025. nL1N2I5250

(Reporting by Ben Klayman and Paul Lienert in Detroit; Editing by Dan Grebler)

((benjamin.klayman@thomsonreuters.com; 313-600-2277; Reuters Messaging: benjamin.klayman.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))