Update: Ford is stepping into the sharing economy. The company announced a new partnership with car-sharing start-up Getaround that will allow Ford owners to rent their cars to qualified drivers when they aren’t using them. According to the Christian Science Monitor, “only customers who have financed their vehicles through Ford Credit, and not customers who own their vehicles outright, are eligible to participate in the car sharing program.”
Our conversation with Ford CEO Mark Fields and why Ford looks at tech as its competition:
“Overall, when we step back, we are in a growth industry.”
That’s what Ford Motor Company CEO Mark Fields has to say about the car and truck business. He points to the fact that, globally, an increasing number of mega-cities are home to 10 million or more people, some of them in the middle class — and he says when people reach the middle class, they want to buy a car.
Fields agrees it’s true that, in many urban areas, car ownership will decline as people decide to use alternate modes of transportation. But he sees Ford as more than just a car and truck company. According to Fields, as a “mobility company,” Ford is experimenting with projects outside of the traditional powertrain. What are some of these experiments?
“It runs the gamut from ride sharing in London, to car-swapping in the U.S. to parking identification,” Fields says.
Fields knows Ford will have competition as it continues to experiment with wrapping more and more technology into its business model. While he sees traditional car manufacturers as competition, Google, Uber and Apple are creeping onto the rivals list.
“The addressable market on the car business dwarfs smartphones, dwarfs wearables, you name it,” Fields says. “And there’s a lot of folks looking at the auto industry and that gives us a lot of motivation.”