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Ford's Focus Is a Fusion of Electric & Hybrid Endeavours

AFP Relaxnews

Updated: September 16, 2016, 3:18 PM IST
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Ford's Focus Is a Fusion of Electric & Hybrid Endeavours
An autonomous Ford Fusion. (Photo: AFP Relaxnews)

US automotive giant Ford has laid down some very ambitious plans for the future. It wants to be a world leader in electric vehicles and self-driving cars, but that doesn't mean it's forgotten its biggest customers.

"We're not moving from an ‘old' business to a ‘new' business. We're moving to a bigger business," said Ford President and CEO Mark Fields.

Therefore it is going to continue to set the pace when it comes to the pickup truck – the F150 is the world's most popular pickup after all – and with family-friendly SUVs. And, best of all it will continue to deliver performance cars that are as affordable as they are exciting. Following the success of the Ford GT and the 350GT Mustang get ready for a further 12 fast Fords that will all arrive before the end of this decade.

However, the company also recognises that the concept of personal mobility is expanding rapidly beyond the idea of having a car. Apps that enable carpooling or sharing are only going to get more popular while the services themselves will soon become fully automated – Uber's already taking a huge step towards this goal with the launch of a self-driving car service in Pittsburgh, which went live on September 14.

"The world is moving from simply owning vehicles to owning and sharing them. That's why we are expanding to sell more vehicles and provide transportation services at the same time," said Fields.

Ford is, therefore, pledging to launch a fully autonomous car – one without pedals or a steering wheel – by 2021 as part of a ride sharing service. The company forecasts that autonomous cars could represent one in five new cars sold by the end of the next decade so wants to be ready.

"The next decade will be defined by automation of the automobile," said Fields. "We're dedicated to putting on the road an autonomous vehicle that can improve safety and solve social and environmental challenges for millions of people – not just those who can afford luxury vehicles."

Within the same timeframe electrified cars are expected to outnumber internal combustion counterparts within most automakers' ranges and so Ford is aiming to have 13 more electrified cars – either fully electric of plug-in hybrid – in its range by 2020.

First Published: September 16, 2016, 3:18 PM IST
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