Ford Forms Autonomous Vehicle Company

Ford Motor Co. has created Ford Autonomous Vehicles LLC, a new organization charged with accelerating its autonomous vehicle (AV) business to capitalize on market opportunities. The company also detailed key organizational changes designed to improve its operational fitness and drive growth.

The carmaker is organizing its self-driving business into Ford Autonomous Vehicles, 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-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 of autonomous vehicles and electrification, has been appointed CEO of Ford Autonomous Vehicles reporting to a board of directors chaired by Marcy Klevorn, Ford’s executive vice president and president of mobility. 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 Co. “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 of global markets.

In addition, Ford is reorganizing 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. As a result, Jeff Lemmer, vice president and CIO, will report to Hinrichs.

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, according to Ford.

“The evolution of computing power and IT have helped bring great products to customers-from cars to tablets,” Hackett said. “We can now harness this technology to unlock a new world of vehicle personalization, supply chain choreography and inventory leanness that rivals any industrial model in the world-and Joe’s challenge is to help us redesign this system to do just that-while better serving customers and dealers and improving our overall fitness.”

All of Ford’s organization changes are effective Aug. 1.

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