| DETROIT, Sept 29
DETROIT, Sept 29 Ford Motor Co will become
less capital intensive and will be open to partnerships as it
develops new businesses such as ride sharing and autonomous
vehicles, Chairman Bill Ford said on Thursday.
"There will be partnerships," Ford told reporters on the
sidelines of a conference in Detroit on the future of
However, Ford said the company will not accept a role as a
hardware supplier to technology giants. "If we are making the
vehicle, that won't be all we are doing," he said.
Since taking over as the automaker's chairman in 1999, Ford
has pushed the company, which was founded by his
great-grandfather, to look beyond its traditional business of
manufacturing and selling cars. Now, other industry executives
are sounding similar themes and putting more capital into
businesses beyond manufacturing vehicles, spurred by investors
concerned that the traditional auto business could be derailed
by competition from Silicon Valley technology giants such as
Alphabet Inc, Uber or Apple Inc.
Ford acknowledged the tension between investing in new,
uncertain ventures such as an urban shuttle service and assuring
that Ford's existing business, which profits mainly from sales
of large pickup trucks and sport utility vehicles in North
America, stays healthy.
Ford earlier this year formed Ford Smart Mobility unit,
which will develop ventures outside of the automaker's core
business and on Thursday the company named a chief executive for
Ford executives have said transportation service businesses
could have 20 percent margins, roughly double those in Ford's
manufacturing business. Bill Ford said not all the company's
ventures will succeed. "We're going to go down some blind
alleys," he said.
The goal is for Ford to "have more revenue streams that are
less dependent on fixed-cost investment," he said.
Government policy should play a role, Ford said.
"If they want to solve their issues of congestion, and
getting people to where work is ... they (government officials)
need to be involved," Ford said.
Changes in regulation will be needed to clear the way for
autonomous vehicles, he said. Cities will have to decide how to
accommodate autonomous and electric vehicles.
"Each city has a different ability to pay for solutions,"
(Reporting By Joe White; Editing by Bill Trott)