Ford Motor, which pioneered the affordable mass-produced motor car, is looking to play a bigger role in building public transport vehicles or integrating cities’ transport systems as it grapples with the growing challenge of helping people move around the world’s traffic-choked cities.
Alan Mulally, Ford’s chief executive, said questions of “personal mobility” and “quality of life” were some of the “most important and exciting developments” around the world and simply providing more and more cars was “not going to work”.
Mr Mulally’s comments at a Detroit auto show event offer a rare insight into a senior auto executive’s thinking about the wider transport challenges facing the industry. Younger people in many industrialised countries are putting off learning to drive and buying vehicles, while in the developing world fast-growing car ownership has clogged many cities.
Ford has long been the car company most open to thinking broadly about mobility issues. Henry Ford, its founder, sought to open up the world’s highways “to all mankind” by making his vehicles ever cheaper. Bill Ford, his great-grandson and the company’s current executive chairman, also has a history of interest in environmental issues that has shaped the company’s approach.
Fascinating. Ford’s late 1990’s CEO Jacques Nasser attempted to address a number of personal transport “jobs to be done”. Perhaps too early.