author: Vineeth Joel Patel
Ford CEO Jim Farley has made quite a few changes to the way the automaker does things since he took over. Earlier this month, Ford essentially split the automaker into two arms, with Ford Model e focusing on electric vehicles and Ford Blue working on internal combustion engine models. Now Ford is doing something similar with its standalone tech divisions.
Autonomous technology gets a new home
According to a Bloomberg report, Ford is looking to accelerate the development of its autonomous technology by creating a new division called Ford Next. Apparently, Farley formed Ford Next last year and put Renault SA new business specialist Franck Louis-Victor at its helm. The division includes the automaker’s stake in Argo Ai, an autonomous startup, as well as Ford’s self-driving unit called Ford Autonomous Vehicles LLC. The main objective of Ford Next is to “develop startups in mobility services and other activities”.
It’s another way Farley is making Ford more attractive to investors and the stock market who want traditional automakers to compete with technology companies. Creating a new division for all of Ford’s autonomous technology does just that and helps Ford look more like Google’s Waymo.
“This reflects a more nuanced rebranding and repositioning of an existing group, not the creation of a new group or a significant structural change,” company spokeswoman Jennifer Flake said in an interview. with Bloomberg. “That’s our approach to the business model. You use it to drive innovation, you use it to incubate new business ideas.”
Staff reshuffling is underway
This goes beyond creating a new division. Farley is also focused on getting the right people into the organization. The CEO says staff who work on traditional internal combustion engines lack the skills to “succeed in the next era of transportation”, leaving the automaker to seek new hires.
“You can’t ask people at ICE to do certain things, it takes too long,” Farley said last month at a Wolfe Research-sponsored conference. “Ford will ensure we have the right structure and the right talent in place to compete and win.”
While Ford Next will seek to build new ventures with other companies, we don’t believe this will be a massive change to what vehicles consumers can actually buy. We expect Ford Next to be the hub for bringing the technology possible to production vehicles.