Ford sets up self-drive subsidiary; investment of US$4 bn

July 29, 2018

US automotive company Ford Motor Company has created Ford Autonomous Vehicles LLC, a new organisation charged with accelerating its self-driving business. It will include Ford’s self-driving systems integration, autonomous vehicle research and advanced engineering, AV transportation-as-a-service network development, user experience, business strategy and business development teams.

Ford-Autonomous-Vehicles-LL

The new company will be primarily based at Ford’s Corktown campus in Detroit and will hold Ford’s ownership stake in Argo AI, the company’s Pittsburgh-based partner for self-driving system development. Ford expects to invest US$4 billion in its AV efforts through 2023, including its US$1 billion investment in Argo AI.

Sherif Marakby currently Ford Vice President, Autonomous Vehicles and Electrification, is appointed CEO of Ford Autonomous Vehicles

“Ford has made tremendous progress across the self driving value chain – from technology development to business model innovation to user experience,” said Jim Hackett, President/CEO, Ford Motor Company. “Now is the right time to consolidate our autonomous driving platform into one team to best position the business for the opportunities ahead.”

Ford says its electric vehicle strategy includes rethinking the ownership experience, including making charging an effortless experience at home and on the road, as well as offering full-vehicle over-the-air software updates to enhance capability and features.

In addition, Ford is reorganising its Global Operations division led by Executive Vice President Joe Hinrichs to include Information Technology as well as the company’s global order-to-delivery system, integrating the teams, technologies and processes from both across Ford’s production system.

This realignment will help the company accelerate the integration and application of technology across its industrial system to further streamline manufacturing, speed vehicle delivery times, reduce inventories and improve capital efficiency.

Ford is also moving to flexible vehicle architectures and more common parts across models, cutting new product development time – from sketch to dealer showroom – by 20%. This is helping it achieve its commitment to deliver nearly US$7 billion of engineering efficiencies. The company intends to have the most efficient Product Development organisation among full-line automakers within five years.

Ford’s five flexible vehicle architectures – body-on-frame, front-wheel-drive unibody, rear-wheel-drive unibody, commercial van unibody and BEV – are paired with module “families” that address the power pack, electrical pack and vehicle configurations. Around 70% of each vehicle’s engineering will be driven from this new architecture approach, with 30 percent of content – including grilles, hoods, doors and more – customized for each vehicle.

Additionally, Ford is embedding a deeper product-line focus across the company. Led by Jim Farley, the effort is anchored on human-centered design with product-line teams putting greater emphasis on customer insights and market opportunities to deliver more consumer driven products and services. This customer-focused product-line approach builds on the success already seen throughout Ford with the F-Series team in North America, the Ranger team in Asia Pacific and the Commercial Vehicle team in Europe.

By 2020, Ford will offer North America’s freshest lineup among all full-line automakers, with its average showroom age dropping from 5.7 to 3.3 years as it replaces three-quarters of its lineup and adds four new trucks and SUVs. Ford has similarly aggressive product refresh plans in other regions, including Europe and Asia.

“We’re looking at every part of our business, making it more fit and ensuring that every action we take is driven by what will serve our customers in a way that supports our fitness and performance goals,” Hackett said.

“Ford has made tremendous progress across the self-driving value chain – from technology development to business model innovation to user experience,” said Jim Hackett, president and CEO of Ford Motor Company. “Now is the right time to consolidate our autonomous driving platform into one team to best position the business for the opportunities ahead.”

, Ford’s current VP of autonomous vehicles and electrification, has been appointed CEO of Ford Autonomous Vehicles.

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