General Motors CEO Mary Barra recently suggested the level of change in the auto industry over the next five years will be greater than it has been over the last half-century – and major announcements by both GM and cross-town rival Ford appear to back that up.
The larger of the two makers has acquired Cruise Automation, a California-based start-up focusing on the development of autonomous vehicles. The smaller carmaker, meanwhile, says it is creating a new subsidiary, Ford Smart Mobility LLC, to focus on a wide range of mobility services, including not only autonomous vehicles but alternatives such as ride- and car-sharing.
“Our plan is to quickly become part of the growing transportation services market, which already accounts for $5.4 trillion in annual revenue,” noted Ford CEO Mark Fields in a prepared statement. In a series of stump speeches in recent months, Fields noted that traditional automakers, such as Ford, currently get little to none of that revenue. (more…)