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Ford Takes Lead in Race for Autonomous Vehicles

Waymo faces challenges bringing tech to market, cautions new study.

by on Apr.03, 2017

Ford's latest-gen autonomous Fusion prototype recently began testing in several locations.

In the race to put autonomous vehicles on the road, it’s not always those who were quick out of the gate who are taking the lead, finds a new study.

Ford Motor Co., which initially took a slow and cautious approach to self-driving technology, is now in the lead, according to Navigant Research, a firm that closely follows the development of high-tech automotive hardware and software.

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Like “many traditional OEMs,” said the Navigant study released today, Ford was “skeptical about the commercial prospects for automated driving,” but it has shifted its efforts into high gear since Mark Fields became CEO in mid-2014, and has since been making aggressive moves “through a combination of strategic investments and development of supporting business models.”

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GM, Ford Insist They Will Remain Profitable in Deep Recession

Taking a “forward lean” into a “downside scenario.”

by on Mar.28, 2016

GM's Alan Batey introducing the 2017 Chevy Bolt.

Seven years after Detroit’s auto industry nearly collapsed, officials at the two largest domestic makers are taking pains to assure investors they will not only survive but thrive during the next big economic downturn.

Fears that the U.S. car market has peaked after hitting record sales of 17.5 million vehicles last year has made Wall Street increasingly wary, driving down the share prices for all the domestic makers, even as they report strong profits. But two top General Motors and Ford executives painted very different pictures for investors as the New York Auto Show opened to strong public attendance.

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“We believe the market is eventually going to plateau, but not in the immediate future,” declared Alan Batey, president of GM North America, during the annual Automotive Summit sponsored by Bank of America Merrill Lynch. And even if sales do take a tumble, he stressed, “We have reduced our break-even point to between 10 million and 11 million annual sales for the industry.”

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Congress to Probe Autonomous Vehicle Progress

Questions likely to focus on recent Google crash.

by on Mar.09, 2016

Google's autonomous vehicle director Chris Urmson will be among those testifying.

With the first semi-autonomous vehicles already rolling across the nation’s highways, Congress wants to learn where the technology is heading, and will hold hearings next week.

Among those set to testify is Chris Urmson, the second-in-command for Google’s self-driving car program. He will be joined by other industry officials from General Motors, auto supplier Delphi and Lyft, the nation’s second-largest ride-sharing service.

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The committee says it hopes to learn more about “advancements in autonomous vehicle technology and its anticipated benefits for Americans.”

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Car-Sharing Services Likely to Erode Auto Sales, Revenues

New study forecasts 35 million people will use car-sharing services.

by on Feb.23, 2016

A Smart car in Berlin, part of Daimler's car2go car-sharing service.

The auto industry could take a big hit to sales and revenues as car-sharing services take hold around the world, warns a new study.

As many as 35 million people will use car-sharing services each month by the beginning of the next decade, forecasts the Boston Consulting Group. That will reduce global car sales by at least 550,000 vehicles by 2021, automakers taking a revenue hit of 7.4 billion euros, or $8.14 billion at the current exchange rate.

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But the situation could get even more challenging later in the coming decade. As self-driving cars start to come to market in large numbers. “Autonomous vehicles will have a much greater impact on new-car sales than car-sharing will,” the study concludes.

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