Ford president and CEO Jim Hackett talks about the culture and future of Ford. Robin Buckson / The Detroit News


Detroit — Ford Motor Co. will cut its car lineup in favor of SUVs to drive profits.

The automaker outlined the plans during the Deutsche Bank Global Auto Industry Conference here Tuesday. Ford plans to grow its SUV lineup by 10 percentage points, and shrink the car lineup accordingly “over the next couple of years” in North America.

The company also plans to launch seven new battery-electric vehicles in North America by 2022.

“We have a rock-solid foundation and we have seen growth in key areas, but we know we must evolve to be even more competitive, and narrow our full line of nameplates in all markets, to a more focused lineup that delivers stronger, more profitable growth, with better returns,” Jim Farley, Ford president of global markets, said in a statement.

Farley joined Ford Chief Financial Officer Bob Shanks at the presentation. The officials provided financial guidance for the next year, as well as preliminary 2017 results.

Shanks expects Ford will post a $7.8 billion profit for 2017. It expects to report $1.78 earnings per share for the year.

The company will also change how it reports its financial results to break out what it made or lost on the mobility segments. Ford expects to have lost $300 million on self-driving vehicle ventures last year.

Ford expects to post lower earnings per share in 2018 than it did in 2017 due to factors outside of the company. Ford expects to post an adjusted earnings per share of $1.45-$1.70 per share, the company reported Tuesday.

Shanks said he’s not satisfied with the company’s financial performance yet, but he’s much more confident in the company’s leadership changes and position in the market since a year ago.

Farley, meanwhile, outlined some of the business moves planned for the next few years.

Ford will “play to our strengths,” he said. Cars will give way to more crossovers and SUVs.

The company is planning to develop “authentic off-roaders and high-performance city crossovers.”

Farley also touched on news made earlier in the week at the Detroit auto show, where Ford announced plans to roll out 40 new electrified models by 2022, spending $11 billion to do so.

That presentation preceded a 45-minute fireside chat at the Automotive News World Congress where CEO Jim Hackett doubled down on his commitment to drive change at Ford.

He talked about positioning the company ahead of the curve in the future.

The company “is going to be so different than what you’re seeing at the show today,” Hackett said. “Ford is gonna aim ahead of where it has to be, because it has to be ahead in order for people to believe our strategy isn’t about catching up to somebody else’s old view.”

The interview ranged from Hackett’s start as CEO — a position he said he wasn’t sure at first he wanted — to whether or not he wishes Ford still owned the luxury brands it ditched during the Mulally era.

Hackett also said it’s not clear battery-electric vehicles are the key to the future. Hybrids, which Ford is strong in, might be better.

He wrapped with a promise that the Detroit auto show is sure to change as Detroit continues to compete with Silicon Valley in the autonomous vehicle race.

“The auto show as we know it is going to alter and mutate,” Hackett said. “It has to demonstrate these capabilities. If the cars are just sitting there ... it’s not enough.”

Twitter: @Ian_Thibodeau

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