Ford began the New Year speaking to media at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2016 about being known as a mobility company as much as an automaker in the near future.
Adding to that ambition was Ford's revelation Friday, when it announced the creation of Ford Smart Mobility LLC, designed to invest in emerging mobility services. As part of the announcement, Ford said Jim Hackett, former Steelcase vice chairman and CEO, will be leaving his position on the Ford Board of Directors to serve as chair of the new LLC.
While the company will continue to design, develop, manufacture, market, sell and service cars, SUVs, trucks and electric vehicles, the new Ford Smart Mobility platform will allow it to mash the dash in thriving spaces such as connectivity, autonomous vehicles and overall mobility to boost the customer experience.
"Ford Smart Mobility and expanding into mobility services are significant growth opportunities," Mark Fields, Ford's president and CEO, said of the new LLC in a company press release statement. "Our plan is to quickly become part of the growing transportation services market, which already accounts for $5.4 trillion in annual revenue. Jim Hackett is the right visionary leader — with extensive experience in business development and design — to take us into the mobility services business in the future."
Hackett welcomes the challenge.
"I am absolutely thrilled to lead Ford's mobility business into the future," he said. "Transportation in the world today is on the cusp of a major revolution, and Ford plans to lead the way by changing the way the world moves through Ford Smart Mobility."
Hackett seems more than equipped for the new role, considering he transformed Steelcase from a traditional office furniture manufacturer into a company that allowed employees to shift away from cubicles and the overall office landscape to work in open-space environments or wherever they wanted.
Over the past year and a half, Ford has really been entrenched in mobility, conducting upwards of 30 experiments in the space to gain insight and learn customer transportation preferences. One of those test drives is GoDrive, a car-sharing program in London that guarantees parking for vehicles in busy locations.
There's also FordPass, which also assists in parking for further mobility of its users, with its first hub expected to be available later this year in New York City.