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January 26, 2018

Ford to boost mobility products and services in 2018

Ford said its mobility organisation was "making the move to accelerate delivery of mobility products and services to customers and deliver shareholder value" in 2018.

"We believe transportation done right – as part of a systems approach – can bring life back to our cities," – Marcy Klevorn, president, Ford Mobility

Ford said its mobility organisation was "making the move to accelerate delivery of mobility products and services to customers and deliver shareholder value" in 2018.

At the recent 2018 CES show in Las Vegas, the company detailed its mobility strategy – "to deliver a broad suite of products and services that enhance all layers of the transportation system – vehicles, infrastructure, connectivity and digital services – to alleviate the transportation drag on cities and help people move more freely in the City of Tomorrow".

"We believe transportation done right – as part of a systems approach – can bring life back to our cities," said Marcy Klevorn, president, Ford Mobility. "By accelerating our delivery of mobility services through the changes we are making, we are enabling that revival, enhancing our competitiveness and creating long-term value for shareholders."

This year, the automaker-turned-mobility-provider expects to accelerate and launch businesses in:

  • Transportation operating system: The company's open, cloud-based platform – the Transportation Mobility Cloud that manages information flow and basic transactions between a variety of components in the transportation ecosystem – will be expanded to include other automakers, suppliers, partners and cities; a developer network to build and support the system also will be launched.
  • Connectivity: Preparing to deliver digital services to personal, fleet and city customers, the mobility team will deliver on the company's commitment of 100% connectivity of new vehicles in the US by 2019 and push toward its goal of 90% connectivity globally by 2020.
  • Ride sharing: Chariot, the cornerstone of Ford's microtransit solutions, will see an acceleration of city launches globally this year; launches will be based on a major shift in focus to the unit's enterprise business, which provides employee transportation services for businesses. Last week, Ford announced the launch of service in Columbus, Ohio – Chariot's fifth city.
  • Non-emergency medical transportation: Tapping into the growing healthcare transportation market, Ford Mobility will expand its non emergency medical transportation operation from a southeast Michigan pilot with Beaumont Health into a full business serving multiple medical systems.
  • Vehicle Management as a Service: Founded in 2017, Ford Commercial Solutions is leveraging vehicle connectivity to deliver data services and fleet optimisation to the commercial segment, building on the automaker's historical strength in serving fleet customers. Commercial Solutions will expand its offerings globally this year.

Ford announced an agreement to acquire Autonomic, a Palo Alto, California based technology company that specialises in scale, architecture and leverage for transportation industry solutions.

The automaker said acquisition of Autonomic would accelerate its "mission" to establish the Transportation Mobility Cloud platform and support its plans to scale up other key mobility initiatives, including the drive toward full connectivity, Chariot and non emergency medical transportation. In addition to being able to fully capture the value created by this platform, Ford also will benefit from the Autonomic team's capabilities in creating and incubating new mobility businesses, as well as relationships that will further improve access to top technology talent.

Ford also said it had acquired TransLoc, a Durham, North Carolina based provider of demand response technology for city owned microtransit solutions. Acquiring TransLoc allows it to leverage operational expertise, a network of city relationships, and a proven track record of providing solutions to cities globally that can improve the rider experience with dynamic routing.

The terms of these acquisitions were not disclosed.

"As we deliver on our commitment to provide solutions for cities' transportation challenges, an important part of our process is to determine whether to build, buy or partner the capabilities required," said Klevorn. "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."

Ford has also reorganised teams developing and scaling mobility solutions. Building on the successful integration of the data and analytics group and information technology team into mobility under Klevorn's management, the reorganisation will establish four new groups focused on mobility products, services and businesses.

The new groups are:

  • Ford X: The acquisition of Autonomic will serve as the cornerstone for the new team. Part of Ford Smart Mobility, this team will have responsibility for ensuring the company is continuously discovering and actively incubating new business models. Ford X will oversee the Transportation Mobility Cloud platform; the Ford X Accelerator, a new group dedicated to quick incubation of potential products and services; and new mobility businesses early in their development.
  • Mobility Business Group: With responsibility for scaling the company's existing mobility businesses, this new group will oversee Ford Commercial Solutions; the microtransit businesses including Chariot and the non-emergency medical transportation unit; FordPass and digital services, including those supporting autonomous vehicle businesses, in vehicle services and personal vehicle ownership; and future businesses once they mature following their 'incubation'.
  • Mobility Platforms and Products: The mobility product solutions group will lead design and development for the technology underpinning the mobility businesses, including connectivity, FordPass platform elements, vehicle management as a service, transportation as a service, its autonomous vehicle partnership platform and foundational platforms.
  • Mobility Marketing and Growth: To drive demand with consumers and commercial and city customers, and to ensure the customer is heard throughout the organisation, Ford Smart Mobility is establishing a global marketing and sales team. This group brings together the City Solutions team, its regional Smart Mobility managers, TransLoc, and related marketing and sales talent into one organisation.

Ford said its new teams would benefit from its ongoing investment in and work with Pivotal. They will also benefit from learnings from the 2017 implementation of product teams, a structure common in software companies and used in FordLabs – the four software development and implementation operations in the US, the UK and India.

With the new organisation, several management appointments were announced:

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

"This is the year Ford Mobility moves from foundation building to product and service delivery, and we are acting decisively to ensure our teams are set up for success," said Klevorn. "The acquisitions of Autonomic and TransLoc, together with the new organisation will enable faster innovation incubation and product development times, as well as increase the group's ability to scale and create value for our shareholders.

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