Ford Motor Company said today it is creating Ford Smart Mobility LLC, a new subsidiary to design, build, and invest in emerging mobility services. Jim Hackett, former Steelcase vice chairman and CEO, is leaving his position on the Ford Board of Directors to serve as chairman of the new venture.
It’s part of the latest automaker trend – or fad – to diversify away from the traditional car business in search of vague concepts – real or imagined – that will shape the transportation business in the future.
“Ford Smart Mobility and expanding into mobility services are significant growth opportunities,” said Mark Fields, president and CEO, Ford Motor Company. “Our plan is to quickly become part of the growing transportation services market, which already accounts for $5.4 trillion in annual revenue.”
A member of the Ford Motor Company Board of Directors since 2013, Hackett served on the Audit, Sustainability and Innovation, and Nominating and Governance committees. He resigned from the Ford Board effective March 10.
During the past 14 months, Ford has conducted more than 30 global mobility experiments “to gain insight into changing consumer transportation preferences.” Several ongoing pilot programs are under way, including: GoPark, which builds a predictive parking system in London capable of directing drivers to streets where they are most likely to find a space; GoDrive, a car sharing program in London that provides vehicles with guaranteed parking at busy locations, such as London City Airport; and Dynamic Shuttle, a program at Ford’s Dearborn, Michigan, campus that allows employees and visitors to summon point-to-point rides on-demand.