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Ford Motor Co. officially announced its new Mustang Mach-E electric SUV Sunday night.
It’s the first evidence of a new strategy around electric vehicles that CEO Jim Hackett proposed when he was named leader of the company back in 2017.
“When I arrived I was trying to get the focal length a little further out and work back from that,” he said.
Hackett quickly announced he’d focus on making Ford leaner and concentrate on building the types of cars its customers wanted to buy, like the bestselling F-150 trucks. But he also boosted Ford’s investment in electrics and hybrids. The launch of the Mach-E, an all-electric Mustang SUV, brings together both of those strategies. An electric version of the F-150 is expected for 2021.
This is an important moment for Ford, not just because the Mustang is such an icon of the company, but because the company is coming off a hard 2018 that Hackett himself called “mediocre” in a note to staff.
“It was painful to admit, [but that’s] really important that you do that … when you’re not where you want to be,” he said. “I really believe that we’ve got great people at Ford Motor Co. So I wanted them to understand that we’ve got to know what great is.”
We spoke with Hackett at Ford’s flashy launch event for the Mach-E just outside Los Angeles, hosted by the actor Idris Elba. Hackett showed us around the car, talked about his vision for the company and the challenges its faced amid the trade war with China. We also asked Hackett what he drives, and what happens if this big bet on electric doesn’t pay off.