Ford creates new organization for autonomous vehicles
Ford Motor Company announced it has created Ford Autonomous Vehicles LLC, a new organization charged with accelerating its AV business to capitalize on market opportunities
The company is organizing its self-driving business into Ford Autonomous Vehicles LLC, which 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. The new LLC, which is structured to take on third party investment, 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 $4 billion in its AV efforts through 2023, including its $1 billion investment in Argo AI.
Sherif Marakby, currently Ford Vice President, Autonomous Vehicles and Electrification, has been appointed CEO of Ford Autonomous Vehicles LLC reporting to a board of directors chaired by Marcy Klevorn, Ford’s Executive Vice President and President, Mobility. The company said in a statement that "the closer alignment of the self-driving platform and the mobility solutions teams will allow faster development of businesses that can thrive in the pre- and post-autonomous vehicle worlds."
“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, 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.”
With Marakby’s move, Ted Cannis, Global Director, electrification, will lead Ford’s Team Edison, the team responsible for developing and bringing to market next-generation electric vehicles. Team Edison will continue to report to Jim Farley, Executive Vice President and President, Global Markets.
Ford said that 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.
A realignment of the company's reporting structure for IT is intended to 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.
Hau Thai-Tang, Executive Vice President, Product Development and Purchasing, will now report directly to Hackett. Under Thai-Tang, Ford said it is moving to flexible vehicle architectures and more common parts across models, cutting new product development time—from sketch to dealer showroom—by 20%.
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. Seventy percent of each vehicle’s engineering will be driven from this new architecture approach, with 30% of content—including grilles, hoods, doors, and more—customized for each vehicle.
These organization changes will be effective Aug. 1.