Ford Motor announced on Tuesday (July 24) that it has created a self-driving car unit dubbed Ford Autonomous Vehicles, and that it plans to invest $4 billion in the unit through 2023.
In a press release, the Detroit car maker said the new unit will also be charged with accelerating the autonomous vehicle (AV) business so that Ford can capitalize on market opportunities. The new LLC, which is structured to take on third-party investments, will be primarily based at Ford’s Corktown campus in Detroit, and will hold Ford’s ownership stake in Argo AI, its self-driving system development partner. Ford said $1 billion of the $4 billion will go to Argo AI.
The new unit will be headed by Sherif Marakby, currently Ford’s vice president of autonomous vehicles and electrification. He will be CEO of Ford Autonomous Vehicles and will report to the board of directors chaired by Marcy Klevorn, Ford’s executive vice president and president of mobility. Ford said that by closely aligning the self-driving platform and the mobility solutions teams, it will enable faster development of businesses.
“Ford has made tremendous progress across the self-driving value chain – from technology development to business model innovation to user experience,” said Jim Hackett, president and CEO of the Ford Motor Company. “Now is the right time to consolidate our autonomous driving platform into one team to best position the business for the opportunities ahead.”
With Marakby going to the new unit, Ted Cannis, global director of electrification, will lead Ford’s Team Edison, which is responsible for developing and bringing to market next-generation electric vehicles. Team Edison will continue to report to Jim Farley, executive vice president and president of global markets.
Ford also said it’s reorganizing its global operations division, led by Executive Vice President Joe Hinrichs, to include information technology as well as the company’s global order-to-delivery system. As a result of those changes, Jeff Lemmer, vice president and CIO, will report to Hinrichs.
“The evolution of computing power and IT have helped bring great products to customers – from cars to tablets,” Hackett said in the same press release. “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.”