Ford Creates a Spin-off of Its Most Popular Show

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
ford creates a spin off of its most popular show

Ford Motor Company has decided it wants to do more than just sell cars and trucks.

On March 11, the automaker announced the creation of a new business subsidiary in the hopes of becoming a leader in the field of mobility services.

Ford Smart Mobility LLC will be headed by former Steelcase CEO Jim Hackett, who will leave Ford’s board of directors in order to take on the new position.

Ford joins a growing list of automotive rivals looking to diversify their operations by investing in the emerging field, the most prominent aspect of which is ride-sharing and ride-hailing services.

“Ford Smart Mobility and expanding into mobility services are significant growth opportunities,” said Ford president and CEO Mark Fields in a statement.

“Our plan is to quickly become part of the growing transportation services market, which already accounts for $5.4 trillion in annual revenue. Jim Hackett is the right visionary leader – with extensive experience in business development and design – to take us into the mobility services business in the future.”

The team at Ford Smart Mobility LLC will work with Ford’s existing product development and engineering team to create mobility products that can be marketed commercially. It will also invest in, and collaborate with, other startup tech companies.

Ford claims the subsidiary’s team will be composed of business and technology leaders from both inside and outside the company.

The automaker already has several mobility pilot projects on the go, including the parking system GoPark and car-sharing program GoPark in London, England, as well as the Dynamic Shuttle program near its Dearborn, Michigan headquarters. It will also be introducing the FordPass digital platform this year, serving members in the New York City area first.

Mobility services are quickly becoming entwined with autonomous driving technology, a marriage automakers hope will one day bring self-driving vehicles — ideally, one that they produce — to the door of a ride-hailing user.

On that front, Ford has been testing self-driving technology on a special road course in Michigan, using a modified Ford Fusion Hybrid.

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9 of 18 comments
  • CincyDavid CincyDavid on Mar 13, 2016

    When I saw the word "mobility" I honestly thought this was going to be an article about Ford factory-building wheelchair-accessible vehicles, instead of letting aftermarket vendors do conversions. The world just keeps changing, such is life.

    • See 1 previous
    • Corey Lewis Corey Lewis on Mar 14, 2016

      I think they need to change the buzzword on this topic. That's what "mobility" means to me as well, wheelchairs and scooters and whatnot. A HoverRound Titanium would be more interesting than this stuff.

  • Jthorner Jthorner on Mar 13, 2016

    Where is the insight, the analysis, the skepticism? In what universe is Ford's "mobility technology" it's "most popular show"? In what universe is Ford considered a leader is self-driving cars, in car information systems or advanced parking systems? In what world is this anything more than Ford pulling a me too act? What the **** happened to TTAC?

    • See 4 previous
    • Highdesertcat Highdesertcat on Mar 13, 2016

      jthorner, " often I’m just disappointed." Most of the readers who left didn't even say goodbye.

  • MaintenanceCosts My rant seems to have disappeared, but suffice it to say I agree with 28 that this is a vehicle about which EVERYTHING is wrong.
  • SCE to AUX Welcome to the most complicated vehicle you can buy, with shocking depreciation built into every one.And that tail - oh, my.
  • FreedMike Can these plates be reprogrammed on demand to flash messages at other drivers? If so, I'd like to flash "Is your insurance paid up?" to tailgaters.
  • SCE to AUX The profile looks a little like the Faraday Future FF91, but choosing the P3 would be easy.
  • Scott When it comes to looks it SUV's big time. (??? can I type that here?)