June 18 (Reuters) – Ford Motor (FN) Executive Chairman Bill Ford said the United States was not ready yet to compete with China in the production of electric vehicles.
“They developed very quickly, and they developed them on a large scale. And now they’re exporting them,” Ford told CNN’s ‘Fareed Zakaria GPS’ Sunday program. “They’re not here but they’ll come here we think, at some point, we need to be ready, and we’re getting ready,” Ford said.
In February, the automaker announced plans to invest $3.5 billion to build an electric vehicle battery plant in Michigan in a deal which involved using technology from Chinese battery company CATL (300750.SZ), attracting attention from US Senator Marco Rubio who asked the Biden administration to review the deal.
Bill Ford, who is the great-grandson of company founder Henry Ford, said in the program that the Michigan battery plant is a chance for Ford engineers to learn the technology and then use it themselves.
“It (Michigan) is a wholly owned Ford facility. They’ll be our employees, and all we’re doing is licensing the technology. That’s it.” he said.
Ford CEO Jim Farley said in May that Chinese electric vehicle makers are its main rivals in the sector, and that Ford needs distinctive branding or lower costs to beat Chinese automakers.
“I think we see the Chinese as the main competitor, not GM (GM.N) or Toyota (7203.T). The Chinese are going to be the powerhouse,” he said.
Reporting by Rishabh Jaiswal and Bharat Govind Gautam in Bengaluru; editing by Diane Craft
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