Just like Ford’s “Edsel” model in the 1950s, Trump administration economist Steve Moore cautioned that electric vehicles (EVs) may be the auto market’s “next big flop.”
“Henry Ford’s son was named Edsel, and this was going to be a great car, all of the executives said, ‘This is the car everybody’s going to want to buy.’ Ford made 500,000 of these new sedan cars, but guess what?” Moore said on “Varney & Co.” Monday. “Nobody bothered to ask consumers whether they wanted the car.”
“And of course, the Edsel was one of the great flops of all time,” the economist continued. “I’m here to tell you, if these trends continue, we’re going to see the EV market become the next big flop because car buyers don’t want them.”
Moore’s comments come as the EV push at Ford and General Motors hits a speed bump that’s cutting into the automakers’ profits and causing them to reevaluate their electric plans amid a price war and supply chain challenges.
Ford noted in its earnings report released last week that its EV unit posted a quarterly loss before interest and taxes (EBIT) of $1.33 billion, an acceleration after a loss of $1.08 billion in the prior quarter. It added that it’s cutting production of its Mustang Mach-E while scaling back about $12 billion in planned investments in the EV segment, including delaying its second battery plant in Kentucky.
General Motors saw its quarterly profit reduced by about $1.5 billion because of higher costs and the impact of selling more EVs, though it doesn’t break out losses from its EV unit in the same way Ford does.
GM CFO Paul Jacobson said that it would abandon an interim goal of building 400,000 EVs from 2022 through mid-2024, instead focusing on a goal of “getting to 1 million EVs of production by the end of 2025 alongside hitting our margin targets.”
“Given the huge losses that these companies like Ford are suffering because of the EV mania, I saw a statistic this morning that Ford is losing something like between $40,000 and $60,000 per car,” Moore reacted. “It’s been a bad bet.”
The economist further argued that auto industry-wide bailouts may be likely amid companies’ EV losses.
“The federal government is also already offering all of these sweeteners to get people to buy electric vehicles. You get a $7,500 check from the government every time you buy an EV. Let’s not forget that we’re subsidising the battery companies, all of these things,” Moore noted.
“The taxpayers are paying for these things,” he added. “And yet the most amazing thing is, even with all these sweeteners, Americans are still saying, I don’t want them.”
Speaking to car dealers around the country, Moore reported that their lots “are full of EVs” and only 10% of clients purchase EVs off the lot today.
“I think the car companies would be smart to go to hybrids where you can have gas and an electric battery,” the economist and adviser suggested. “But the car companies aren’t making those cars. And the reason they aren’t making them is because the government has increasingly mandated that all cars be EVs.”