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Ford Targets an Urban Future




LOS ANGELES, California – Is Ford Motor Company the leading major automaker in the move toward a post auto-ownership world? CEO Mark Fields would like you to think so. Ford is joining ex-New York City Mayor and media magnate Michael Bloomberg’s Coalition of Cities, a growing list of global urban entities considering how to reduce congestion and carbon emissions in the near future, Fields announced at his keynote address at Automobility L.A., ahead of the Los Angeles Show press days, Tuesday.

The United Nations-backed Coalition will “collect the best ideas from around the world and implement them,” Fields said.

Ford’s partnership with Chariot, a car-sharing service that operates in San Francisco and Austin, Texas, will expand to four more cities in the next 15 months, Fields said. He pointed to Ford Go Bikes, its urban bike-sharing program, and plans to field fully autonomous ride-hail cars on city streets by 2021 as examples of how the company is moving past its traditional role as an automaker.

Mark Fields

Mark Fields

“We really are on the cusp of a mobility revolution,” Fields said in his opening remarks. “We at Ford have spent the past 100 years getting ready for that.”

While cars like the Ford GT “are still very important,” Fields said, the company’s focus is on helping “build the city of tomorrow.” It’s a forward-looking stance coming from the company that put the world on wheels with the Model T, from a founder who grew up on a farm and generally eschewed urban life. The Ford Motor Company of 2016 feels more like the offspring of the company once run by Henry Ford’s cosmopolitan son, Edsel.

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November 17, 2016