Tag: Mobility

By on May 11, 2017

ford logo

As anticipated, Ford CEO Mark Fields was grilled today over his plans to improve the company’s waning fortunes by board members who had scheduled extra time to question him.

Hot topics at the annual meeting centered on why profits are falling, what is Ford doing about the market shift toward SUVs, and how the company’s colossal investments into technology are affecting its present-day financial situation. Ford has poured billions into self-driving vehicles and ride-sharing platforms as its traditional car business loses some ground to General Motors in a slowing U.S. market. Fields spearheaded Ford’s rebranding as a mobility company, but many have suggested this future-focus isn’t healthy for the brand.

Fields stuck to his guns, emphasizing that Ford was heading “aggressively but also prudently” into “the biggest strategic shift in the history of our company.”  (Read More…)

By on May 10, 2017

Ford badge emblem logo

The board of directors at Ford Motor Company will be seeking answers from CEO Mark Fields on how the brand’s mobility strategy played a role in its lackluster annual earnings report. Inside sources claim board members made extra time leading up to Thursday’s annual shareholders meeting to discuss the company’s future with the CEO.

Fields has promoted Ford’s evolution into a mobility company ever since taking the helm in 2014 — something investors haven’t been particularly receptive of. During Fields’ tenure as CEO, shares in the company have fallen by 35 percent. However, with tech-focused companies typically receiving above-average valuations, the methodology behind his strategy appears sound. Ford has spent billions on the development of autonomous technology and showcased mobility concepts that even Tesla hasn’t bothered with.

While many seem too impractical or far-fetched to deserve serious attention, the capital behind its self-driving efforts have kept Ford near the front of the pack in the autonomous race. So, what’s the problem?  (Read More…)

By on April 6, 2017

Peugeot 405

France’s PSA Group appears to be getting serious about its re-entry into the U.S. market, naming former Nissan executive Larry Dominique as the head of its North American endeavors. That means the possibility of seeing new Peugeots or Citroëns on the road is no longer just a pipe dream.

However, PSA hasn’t yet made up its mind on which brands will debut in America. The Peugeot lineup makes the most sense, as it’s the French brand most American’s actually still remember, but Citroen has more eccentric models that could appeal to a specific subset of customers. The latter also has the DS sub-brand that might appeal to upscale buyers, even if it were to come in on its own.

The final decision won’t come until PSA has spent time and money performing loads of consumer research and logistical analysis.  (Read More…)

By on March 30, 2017

2017 Audi A4 Ultra

Today’s car rental services span the gamut in terms of vehicular offerings and price, but it used to be a more utilitarian affair. Granted, the norm is still to hop online and click the little box next to economy or compact with those full-size sedans reserved for when your employer is footing the bill. However, special discounts or a base Mitsubishi Mirage occasionally make SUVs and even premium cars too tempting to pass up. For those with more discerning tastes, there are entire agencies devoted to specialty cars.

Silvercar is a rental firm that allows customers to charter an Audi A4 similarly to how you would reserve a ZipCar — log in, schedule a pickup, and remotely unlock the vehicle for as long you need access. It’s akin to BMW’s ReachNow, General Motors’ Maven, and Mercedes’ Car2Go — that latter of which is finally replacing its fleet of Smart cars with Benz-branded vehicles. But Audi doesn’t actually own Silvercar, it just happens to be a company providing the exact service that every single automaker wants to include as part of an updated mobility identity. Oh, and it exclusively rents out A4s.

Obviously, Audi is purchasing it. (Read More…)

By on March 28, 2017

Ford Factory

Ford Motor Company has announced that it will invest $1.2 billion into three Michigan facilities to strengthen its status among truck and SUVs manufacturers and to further enhance its role as a “mobility company.” Most importantly, the cash is needed if Americans ever want to get their hands on a Bronco or Ranger again.

Many of the investments are included in the automaker’s 2015 promise to pour nine billion dollars into its U.S. plants over the next several years. In an agreement with UAW made almost two years ago, Ford said it would pour $700 million into the Michigan Assembly plant, $150 million into the Romeo Engine plant, and $400 million for Flat Rock Assembly.

While these were not the only locations promised capital, Ford released an official statement that all three would see the promised amount — or better.   (Read More…)

By on March 21, 2017

Uber (freestocks.org/Flickr)

Uber’s president Jeff Jones is quitting the car-hailing business after a brief six-month stretch.

Jones’ choice of a swift departure is essentially down to the company’s controversy laden decisions and apparent degenerate corporate culture. In addition to allegations of widespread sexual harassment, Uber has managed to routinely anger local governments by ignoring autonomous testing laws and by employing algorithms that denied service to potential investigators, regulators, or law enforcement officials. It’s also been accused of property theft, and CEO Travis Kalanick is exhibiting behavior unlikely to win people over.

It’s a real shit show.

(Read More…)

By on February 12, 2017

MAVEN APP

While Ford is currently the domestic automaker making the biggest push into in mobility services — which seem to entail practically anything outside of traditional manufacturing and distribution — it isn’t the only company preparing itself for an era of declining vehicle ownership. FCA has partnered with Waymo to develop a fleet of self-driving Pacificas and General Motors has a personal mobility brand, called Maven, that acts as a car-sharing service.

While it isn’t quite so technologically advanced as autonomous vehicles or automotive A.I., Maven provides additional revenue immediately and furnishes GM with a unique opportunity to cope with some of the ownership problems of tomorrow. Car-sharing is good way for GM to profit from people who don’t own cars, but it’s also a clever method of getting young urban drivers to spend money on becoming more familiar with their product — especially on the coasts where import brands tend to outsell their domestic counterparts. (Read More…)

By on February 10, 2017

ford Argo AI

Ford Motor Company intends to invest $1 billion into tech startup Argo AI over the next five years, giving the Blue Oval a majority stake in the company as it continues to reach for the goal of producing a fully autonomous vehicle by 2021.

The Pittsburgh-based Argo will help the Detroit automaker develop a “virtual driver system” for its proposed commercial ride-sharing fleets before moving on to retail vehicles. Ford even went so far as to suggest that the software it develops with Argo could be licensed to other companies.

While still officially an automaker, the Blue Oval really is going all in on its new identity as a mobility company and it isn’t afraid to remind everyone of all of the important work it feels that it is doing. (Read More…)

By on January 31, 2017

Car2Go Mercedes

Daimler AG’s Car2Go has been a great way for the company to dump Smart Fortwos on urban areas and turn a profit while the itty-bitty city car’s popularity wanes. However, with only the single small offering, Car2Go is the only vehicle-sharing service that forces subscribers to decide which of their two children will have to be left behind to fend for themselves every time they take a trip somewhere.

In response, Mercedes-Benz is providing its CLA and GLA to C2G’s North American fleet — reuniting families, allowing a week’s worth of grocery shopping in a single run, and making its service substantially more competitive with rival ZipCar. (Read More…)

By on January 25, 2017

Ford badge emblem logo

Ford Motor Co. has hired former Apple marketing guru Musa Tariq as part of its expanding need to make the case that it is a mobility company not simply an automaker. Taking the newly created position of vice president and chief brand officer, Tariq will help construct and differentiate the brand identify Ford is hoping to carefully curate for itself.

Cars were for your grandfather’s generation. We now have mobility solutions(Read More…)

By on January 13, 2017

Ford-GT-1

I remember it as though it were yesterday. Well, actually, my short-term memory isn’t that good anymore, thanks to the little transient ischemic attack I had about two years ago. So, let’s say I remember it like it was the day my son was born: the announcement of the Ford GT at the North American International Auto Show in 2015.

Painted in an unobtainium shade of blue, the GT rolled out onto the stage in Joe Louis Arena to much thunder and applause — and then a similarly painted Shelby GT350R came out and starting doing smoky donuts all around it.

Then, out of nowhere, a bald eagle flew in and landed on the hood of a Raptor F-150, carrying the severed head of Mary Barra in its beak. After that, a reanimated Norman Schwarzkopf rolled an Abrams tank in and blew a hole in the roof on the arena, causing $100 bills to rain down on everybody while girls in stars-and-stripes bikinis lovingly brushed Mark Fields’ mullet.

That second part may not have happened exactly like that. But compared to what Ford and other manufacturers did during their reveals this week, it may as well have. Because this week’s show was a fucking bore, and it was all because of that most millennial of vices — virtue signaling.

(Read More…)

By on September 19, 2016

2015 Chevrolet Suburban LTZ

Yoyo believes, like other mobility disruptors, that the traditional automobile acquisition and ownership experience is broken. It maintains that the majority of consumers can be provided with more flexible, efficient, lower-cost alternatives to the incumbent model of personal mobility. However, the prevailing two-step distribution system is entrenched and the insurance, maintenance, parking, and other segments of the $2 trillion extended auto industry are not incentivized to embrace change.

Will Yoyo’s pay-per-mile subscription model participate in disrupting the calcified status quo? (Read More…)

By on May 25, 2016

Uber

Not wanting to be left out of the mobility party, Toyota and Volkswagen recently invested in two ride-sharing companies, becoming the latest automakers to sink cash into the sharing economy.

Toyota invested a rumored $100 million in the ubiquitous ride-sharing company Uber, while Volkswagen, which has to meter out its dough carefully (thanks to a pesky little scandal), dropped $300 million on Uber’s taxi-hailing rival Gett. (Read More…)

By on April 4, 2016

 

2016 Toyota RAV4

Your vehicle’s technology is enslaving you, and Toyota wants to help you break free.

Today, Toyota has become the latest automaker to create a subsidiary tasked with generating new technology and innovation for its parent company.

Called Toyota Connected Inc., the venture is a collaboration with Microsoft that will serve as a data science and mobile technology hob for the world’s largest automaker. The plan is to use Microsoft’s Azure cloud technology to “humanize” the driving experience and make vehicles’ high-tech abilities less intrusive and more useful. (Read More…)

By on March 21, 2016

2014 Mercedes-Benz S-Class

Uber wants to eliminate drivers from its operation, but the ride-hailing service reportedly just purchased an armada’s worth of Mercedes-Benz S-Class sedans that don’t yet have fully autonomous capability.

On Friday, Reuters reported that sources at both companies told the German publication Manager Magazin that an order had been made by Uber for “at least” 100,000 S-Class vehicles.

The shelf price for that volume of Benz’s would be in the neighbourhood of $10 billion. (Read More…)

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