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Ford Creates Autonomous Vehicle Subdivision

Other operational changes announced

© Motor Trend Staff   Ford Fusion Hybrid Autonomous Development Vehicles

From Motor Trend

[post_ads]has created a subdivision called Ford Autonomous Vehicles LLC to accelerate its self-driving car technology. With this new structure, the automaker will invest $4 billion in autonomous vehicles through 2023.

The subdivision encompasses research and engineering, user experience, business strategy and development, self-driving systems integration, and other functions related to autonomous vehicles. Its operations will be based in in Detroit, a 110-year-old historic brick building and former factory. Ford's ownership stake in Argo AI, a Pittsburgh company focused on self-driving system development, will be held by the new subdivision.

Sherif Marakby, Ford's current head of Autonomous Vehicles and Electrification, will now lead the new subdivision. He has worked in various positions at Ford over the years, and had a brief stint as vice president of global vehicle programs at Uber from April 2016 to April 2017.

"Ford has made tremendous progress across the self driving value chain - from technology development to business model innovation to user experience," said Ford president and CEO Jim Hackett in a statement. "Now is the right time to consolidate our autonomous driving platform into one team to best position the business for the opportunities ahead."

Indeed, Ford has ambitious plans. Back in 2016, it committed to by 2021. The autonomous cars will not include steering wheels or pedals, and they will be used for ride sharing services.
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© Motor Trend Staff

Ford also announced changes to its Global Operations division. To integrate new technologies across its production system, Ford is bringing together the Information Technology team and the company's global order-to-delivery system under one umbrella. Joe Hinrichs will continue to lead the division.

"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."

As we previously reported, Hackett has focused on improving efficiencies since in May 2017. Through flexible vehicle architectures and parts sharing, Hackett aims to cut the time it takes to develop a new car from scratch by 20 percent. This should result in nearly $7 billion of engineering efficiencies, and within five years, Ford wants to have the most efficient Product Development organization among automakers that have a full line of vehicles. Signifying the importance of this goal, Product Development and Purchasing executive vice president Hau Thai-Tang will now report directly to Hackett.
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Ford is looking to put a greater emphasis on customer insights and market opportunities for the products and services it provides. The automaker says it has already adopted this approach with the F-Series team in North America, Ranger team in Asia Pacific, and Commercial Vehicle team in Europe. These efforts will become important because by 2020, Ford anticipates the average showroom age of its lineup will drop from 5.7 years to 3.3 years.

Ford for a hybrid F-150 to arrive in 2020, and an all-new Super Duty by the same year. An all-electric performance crossover called Mach 1 will also enter production early next decade. A new Ranger will go on sale in the U.S. next year, and the Bronco is on the horizon for 2020.

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Autos News: Ford Creates Autonomous Vehicle Subdivision
Ford Creates Autonomous Vehicle Subdivision
Other operational changes announced
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