Unlike GM, which will be dropping both infotainment systems for future EVs.
Ford CEO Jim Farley told a panel at the Wall Street Journal Future of Everything Festival that the automaker has no plans to discontinue the use of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, unlike crosstown rival General Motors which announced last month plans to co-develop a new system with Google for its future EVs. GM's controversial decision may ultimately pay off, or it may not, but Ford is sticking with what it knows.
"I think the first three software shippable content that's going to be cool for customers is not the interior digital experience. Although that will always be super important because it's a safety-critical device and then there's going to be a lot more going on inside the car than your phone," Farley told the audience. "So the interior has to be really well done. But in terms of content, we kind of lost that battle 10 years ago. So like get real with it because you're not going to make a ton of money on content inside the vehicle. It's going to be safety, security, partial autonomy, and productivity in our eyes."
Basically, Ford and GM have different business models in this regard as Farley doesn't think eliminating these systems is the right course. But, this does not mean Ford isn't moving toward things like subscription services via Ford Pro. As for autonomy, Ford already has BlueCruise, another subscription-based feature, up and running in models like the Mustang Mach-E. It will be expanded into new and existing vehicles in the very near future. Farley also pointed out a similarity between GM and Tesla's approach to software:
"But Tesla and other companies believe differently. They want complete control over the interior experience and we don't think it's differentiating. 70 percent of our Ford customers in the US are Apple customers. Why would I go to an Apple customer and say 'good luck'? That doesn't seem very customer-centric and Apple does a really good job. So our philosophy is different. Our philosophy is we're going to make the best Android/Carplay experience you can imagine."
Ford does have existing relationships with both Apple and Google in regard to their respective infotainment systems. It's already working with Google on a replacement system for Sync4 and, with Apple, the capability for future models to integrate CarPlay into the driver's digital cluster. GM is unquestionably taking a gamble with its infotainment system approach, but taking risks is part of the business.
On the flip side, Ford is taking a gamble by not developing its own software. Who will ultimately win? It'll take a few years to find out.
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