By on March 12, 2016

2016 NAIAS Ford Stand

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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18 Comments on “Ford Creates a Spin-off of its Most Popular Show...”

  • avatar
    el scotto

    Dear Sweet Jeebus! A thinly veiled re-write (xeroxed?) of press handout appearing as news on TTAC. All this thing needs is some “Buzzword Bingo” cards. The marketing pariahs of car companies are touting this “seamless integration of technology in the mobility services fields to leverage assets” or some other corporate claptrap. They are ignoring the “transportation services market” or what is our choice to leave where we want, when we want, to go wherever we want. Like many things promised by the internet, the last 100 feet is the most difficult part. However, an Amazon drone that would pick me up on my balcony and gently drop me off in front of my office building would be nice. Until then, the “sport” mode and a loud stereo will have to do.

    • 0 avatar

      Almost all automotive industry news is sourced from press releases and media events.

    • 0 avatar

      el scotto, there are more Ford fans than there are VW fans so this re-write appeals to those who missed it elsewhere.

      I’m not a fan of autonomous driving technology so I would pull in front of self-driving cars to slow them down since they are designed to avoid collisions and would automatically back off.

  • avatar

    I have to agree with ya HDC. However ,changing technology , and the evolution of of the driving experience , is the way of the future. The car companies are just meeting the demands , of the generations that are coming up behind us.

    My Dad didn’t believe in the automatic transmission, or power steering . Somewhere around 1970 , he finally gave in.

    • 0 avatar

      Hey, mikey. Yes, I know that all this new-fangled stuff is coming down the pike but I won’t be around when it becomes widely implemented.

      My first experience with a “luxury” truck was when I bought my 1988 Silverado 350 Automatic, ExtCab LongBed. Wow, was that thing fancy! Well, compared to the used rolling wrecks I had owned up to that point.

      Hope you’re doing well and getting all the support you need.

  • avatar

    I must be a dummy. I thought Ford was already in the transportation market.

  • avatar

    No Ford supposedly builds cars and trucks. If they run right you may say that they are in the transportation business. Otherwise they have been known to build items that can be used as portable cremation devices, large flower pots and living quarters for less fortunate people and their pets…and homes for rats and other undesirable critters.

  • avatar

    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.

  • avatar

    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?

    • 0 avatar

      TTAC is a community. The more insight you can share, the more informative the community.

      • 0 avatar

        TTAC is a for-profit enterprise owned by a media conglomerate. The writers and editors need to provide a sound base. Counting on the community to provide the substance is disingenuous.

    • 0 avatar

      jthorner – your post answered your question

      • 0 avatar

        Years ago I wrote for TTAC, and sometimes earned $25-$50 for each piece (you know, the big bucks). For a while during one of the many troubled times I wrote for free because I liked the mission and style of TTAC.

        Now I have moved on, but every now and then I drop by to see what is going on. Sometimes I’m pleasantly surprised, but often I’m just disappointed.

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