Ford is the latest auto manufacturer to be forced to “think different” as a result of the impending arrival of tech companies like Apple in the car industry.
Specifically, Ford is reshuffling some of its management team — giving new director of corporate strategy, Michael Seneski, the job of seeking partnerships with tech giants. This will be done under the leadership of former investment banker John Casesa, who is currently working to update Ford’s business model.
The Wall Street Journal reports that:
“The personnel moves follow a drive by senior leaders to slowly wade into new business arenas, including providing car-sharing services that resemble Zipcar. Responding to the emergence of Uber Technologies Inc. and Tesla Motors Inc., and the threat of competition from Google Inc. and Apple Inc., Mr. Casesa’s team of analysts and corporate strategists is figuring where to place future investment bets.”
It’s no secret that Ford is reevaluating the future of the auto industry ahead of the arrival of Apple and others. At a recent tech conference in Ireland, company chairman Bill Ford Jr. said the company is, “going to have to migrate to new business models, which will be much more like transportation as a service.”
Ford continued that, “The car’s role in that may be diminished greatly, but there will be different revenue streams along the way.”
This isn’t the first time Ford has responded in some manner to Apple’s potential to disrupt the car industry. During the company’s Q2 earnings call this year, CEO Mark Fields said he views Apple’s arrival as a net positive for the auto industry, although clarified that he had no idea what it is working on.
Last month, Ford updated its Sync infotainment system to allow Apple’s Siri Eyes Free feature for iPhone to work on Ford car dashboards.
Nest CEO and iPod co-creator Tony Fadell recently confirmed that Steve Jobs was thinking about an Apple Car as far back as 2008.