Auto Tech

CEO Mark Fields emphasizes services, as well as cars, in Ford's future

Taking the stage at the Code Conference today, Fields said that software and autonomous cars would be a bigger priority in the company's future.

CEO Mark Fields says autonomous cars will make transportation a service.

Ford

Cars -- and especially trucks -- account for the lion's share of Ford's revenue, but during an interview on stage at the Code Conference today, CEO Mark Fields asserted the growing importance of services.

Facing questions about how Ford would adapt to a public with a potentially smaller appetite for cars, Fields said he was already preparing for an increasingly urbanized population. Noting that there just wasn't room for more cars in cities, and that some cities may even make private cars illegal, he outlined how Ford was preparing to supply and support autonomous cars, making transportation a service.

In the nearer term, he mentioned the recent investment in Pivotal, giving Ford new expertise in cloud computing. Pivotal created the FordPass app, through which the automaker can deliver new online services to its customers.

Fields was vague on precisely which services Ford would be offering in the future, but the current version of the FordPass app provides remote controls of some vehicle features, such as door locks, access to call center operators who can help with a variety of questions, and the ability to locate parking garages. Ford would likely be looking at other services to add on to these.

Pointing out Ford's commitment to the cloud services side of the business, Fields said that its Smart Mobility division had been set up away from the core manufacturing business, keeping its budget separate.