Ford Motor Co’s Chief Executive Officer Mark Fields believes automakers are today increasingly challenged by companies from other industries that enter the auto market and seek to impose their different business model.
Fields was present in Bochum, Germany, at an automotive conference where he questioned the emergence of companies as auto industry rivals. Without naming them, we could think of a few examples – such as car-hailing service provider Uber Technologies or Google, which has recently unveiled its own take on the future of autonomous driving. “There are others who we never thought five years ago would be competitors for us,” commented Fields. “Guess what, they are looking at our industry, not taking anything for granted, they are questioning tradition and they are knocking down walls. I want to make sure Ford doesn’t end up like the handset business,” he added.
Fields referred to the mobile phone sector as a bad example, saying that a majority of mobile phone makers have ended up heavily reliant on the business model of telecom providers – the former set up high prices for the unlocked handsets and the latter subsidize them if you sign heavy contracts. The automotive world is increasingly stepping on the accelerator pedal when it comes to technology – as they become increasingly connected – and opportunities for new business models have surged as well. For example, car-sharing services deemphasize personal ownership, instead providing customers with a car that will be paid depending on the amount of time spent in it and distance traveled.