Enter Ford X: Automaker Buying Two More Mobility Companies

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky

Not to be outdone by General Motors’ excursion into autonomy, Ford Motor Company has announced it will purchase two mobility startups: Autonomic, which makes self-driving software; and TransLoc, which makes transit apps.

While Ford says it made a significant investment into the California-based Autonomic last year, it’s now rolling the company into a new team for developing mobility business models called “Ford X.”

This is familiar territory, as the Blue Oval also promised to put around $1 billion into Argo AI last year. The artificial intelligence startup is supposed to help Detroit automaker develop a “virtual driver system” for future autonomous fleets. But will the company’s strategy of acquiring businesses work as it hopes to reshape itself into a different kind of carmaker? Ford thinks so.

Questioned about the plans by the Detroit Free Press, Ford Mobility president Marcy Klevorn said the acquisitions definitely accelerate the automaker’s strategy to “buy, build or partner” its way to self-driving goals.

“We believe the integration of the technology and talent from Autonomic and TransLoc into our Mobility team will further bolster our ability to deliver robust solutions for personal owners, fleet operators, and cities, with speed and at scale,” Klevorn explained.

Ford also announced Thursday that it wants to expand its Chariot commuter shuttle service to cities worldwide. Chariot currently only exists in San Francisco, Seattle, Austin, New York City, and Columbus, Ohio. Still, which cities will be chosen were not disclosed, nor were details on the purchasing terms for TransLoc and Autonomic.

We do know Ford is shifting key staff into positions that will help ensure its business strategy is executed in a way that would probably make Ford’s mobility-obsessed former CEO Mark Fields proud.

Sunny Madra (the CEO and cofounder of Autonomic) will join Ford as vice president of Ford X, Brett Wheatley (director of Ford Marketing, Sales and Service Fitness Transformation) will become vice president of Mobility Marketing and Growth, Rich Strader is now vice president of Mobility Platforms and Products, and Marion Harris (chief financial officer of Ford Credit) shall become vice president of Ford’s Mobility Business Group.

[Image: Ford Motor Co.]

Matt Posky
Matt Posky

A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.

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  • Golden2husky Have to say he did an excellent job on the C7, especially considering the limited budget he was given. I am very happy with my purchase.
  • Marty The problem isn't range; it's lack of electricity in multi-unit building parking. All you need is level 1 - a standard 120v wall socket - and if you're plugged in 10 hours overnight you get 280 miles per week or more. That's enough for most folks but you can use public charging to supplement when needed. Installing conduit circuits and outlets is simple and cheap; no charge stations needed.
  • 2manyvettes Tadge was at the Corvette Corral at the Rolex 24 hour sports car race at the end of January 2023. During the Q&A after his remarks someone stood up and told him "I will never buy an electric Corvette." His response? "I will never sell you an electric Corvette." Take that Fwiw.
  • Socrates77 They're pinching pennies for the investors like always, greed has turned GM into a joke of an old corporate American greed.
  • Analoggrotto looking at this takes me right back to the year when “CD-ROM” first entered public lexicon
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