Ford overhauls mobility business, promises 90% connectivity globally by 2020

Ford outlined its new mobility business structure and strategy. (Ford)

Auto giant Ford said it is “accelerating and expanding” its mobility activities, actions that include new acquisitions and a reorganization of its Ford Mobility business.

Specifically, Ford said it would acquire TransLoc, which provides demand-response technology for city-owned microtransit solutions, and Autonomic, which specializes in scale, architecture and leverage for transportation industry solutions. The company also said it would reorder its Mobility business under Marcy Klevorn into four new groups: Ford X, Mobility Business Group, Mobility Platforms and Products, and Mobility Marketing and Growth.

“2018 is the year Ford Mobility moves from foundation building to product and service delivery, and we are acting decisively to ensure our teams are set up for success,” Klevorn said in a release. “The acquisitions of Autonomic and TransLoc, together with the new organization will enable faster innovation incubation and product development times, as well as increase the group’s ability to scale and create value for our shareholders.”

Importantly, in its wireless efforts, Ford reiterated that it “will deliver on the company’s commitment of 100 percent connectivity of new vehicles in the United States by 2019 and push toward its goal of 90 percent connectivity globally by 2020.”

As noted by TechCrunch, Ford’s actions follow the company’s keynote address at the recent Consumer Electronics Show, which focused on smart city and smart transportation services and not Ford’s latest Mustang or Explorer models.

Ford’s latest announcements put the company more in line with the activities of the nation’s major wireless carriers, which are also focused on selling services and platforms to cities and others. Indeed, two years ago at CES, AT&T inked a major agreement with Ford to connect more than 10 million cars with its AT&T-powered SYNC Connect service within the next five years.

And connected vehicles continue to remain a key element of AT&T’s business. “Beginning in July 2017, we are reporting prepaid IoT connections, which primarily consist of "connected" cars where customers actively subscribe for vehicle connectivity, as a component of prepaid subscribers. The prepaid subscriber base at September 30, 2017 now includes approximately 543,000 subscribers that were formerly included in connected devices,” the company wrote in its latest quarterly report with the SEC.

According to Counterpoint Research, AT&T is the world’s fourth-largest supplier of cellular IoT connections with a 6% share of the global market.