Ford says will nearly double electric auto investment

Ford plans to accelerate investments in electric cars, but said its 2021 results could be pinched by the shortage of semiconductors
Ford plans to accelerate investments in electric cars, but said its 2021 results could be pinched by the shortage of semiconductors GEORGES GOBET AFP/File
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New York (AFP)

Ford announced Thursday it is accelerating its investment in electric cars, but cautioned that the industry-wide shortage of semiconductors would pinch profits in 2021.

The US auto giant, released fourth-quarter and annual results, and said it plans $22 billion in electric car investment through 2025, nearly twice the earlier plan.

The announcement is the latest big bet on electric autos by a legacy automaker in the wake of upstart Tesla's growth and in anticipation of Biden administration initiatives to encourage emission-free vehicles.

Last week, Ford's rival General Motors set a target of having most of its fleet emissions-free by 2035.

But Ford said annual operating profits could be dented by $1 to $2.5 billion due to lost auto sales connected to the semiconductor shortage.

Earlier Thursday, Ford said it was trimming output of its F-150 because of the supply issue, following on the heels of other automakers, including GM that announced Tuesday it was shutting productions at three plants, and slashing output in half at another due to chip supply.

"The semiconductor situation is changing constantly, so it's premature to try to size what availability will mean for our full-year performance," said Chief Financial Officer John Lawler.

"Right now, estimates from suppliers could suggest losing 10 to 20 percent of our planned first-quarter production."

Ford reported a fourth-quarter loss of $2.8 billion, compared with a loss of $1.7 billion in the year-ago period.

Revenues fell 9.3 percent to $36 billion.

Ford shares rose 1.6 percent in after-hours trading to $11.55.