The internal reorganization continues.
If you thought Ford was done restructuring its business model then think again. Earlier this month, the Blue Oval announced plans to split its EV and ICE operations into two divisions, Ford Model e and Ford Blue, respectively. This is part of the grander Ford+ plan designed to keep the automaker competitive as the industry moves into new technologies and electrification. And apparently, CEO Jim Farley ordered the creation of another division late last year called Ford Next.
Per Bloomberg, the new division is tasked with developing autonomous vehicles and other new advanced technologies. Farley hired Franck Louis-Victor, a specialist in new businesses, to run things. The division is also responsible for Ford's stake in Argo AI and is also tasked with seeking out startups and other mobility service-related companies.
The creation of Ford Next now allows the carmaker to directly compete with the likes of Google's Waymo and even Tesla. "This reflects a more nuanced rebranding and repositioning of an existing group, not creation of a new one or a significant structural shift," said company spokeswoman Jennifer Flake. "It's our approach to the business model. You use it to foster innovation, you use it to actually incubate new business ideas."
Ford's BlueCruise self-driving technology will obviously continue to undergo improvements under Ford Next's watch. The BlueCruise hands-free driving technology is already available, via an over-the-air software update, on the F-150 and Mustang Mach-E but only if they already came equipped with the optional Ford Co-Pilot 360 Active 2.0 Prep Package.
Anyone who's still surprised or even disagrees with Farley's moves needs to understand that he wants to make the 118-year-old automaker behave and feel more like a startup. The goal is to attract new tech talent who have a history of finding their way to Silicon Valley instead of the Detroit area. He wants this new generation of tech talent to work alongside each other instead of being integrated with those whose specialty is ICE vehicles.
"You can't ask ICE people to do certain things, it takes too long," Farley said last month at a conference. "Ford will ensure we have the right structure and talent in place to compete and win."