Full text of Ford CEO Mark Fields’ keynote at Mobile World Congress 2016 in Barcelona on February 22, 2016.
Listen to the MP3 Audio here: MP3- Ford CEO, Mark Fields Keynote at Mobile World Congress 2016
Announcer: I’m absolutely delighted to introduce to the stage Ford President and CEO Mr. Mark Fields.
Mark Fields – Ford President and CEO
Well, it’s great to be here at the 2016 Mobile World Congress. And if you think about it, Mobile World Congress and Ford have a very special history, because five years ago we were the first automaker to reveal a vehicle at this show and we also announced Ford SYNC – which is our in-car connectivity technology – was coming to Europe. Bill Ford also stood right here on this stage and surprised the audience when he said that Ford was beginning to fundamentally rethink transportation — and he laid out our Blueprint for Mobility.
And last year here, we introduced Ford Smart Mobility — our plan to reshape the future of transportation and change the way the world moves just like Henry Ford did more than a century ago. Ford Smart Mobility is our plan to be a leader in connectivity, mobility, autonomous vehicles, customer experience, and data and analytics. And last year here, we also introduced two new e-bikes which are part of more than 30 global mobility experiments for studying how to help people move more easily through cities.
And today we’ll share our next steps as we at Ford take on one of the most significant strategic shifts in our company’s 113 year old history as we expand our business from being an auto company to an auto and a mobility company.
Now for us this shift was driven by our changing world, which is becoming more crowded and more urbanized. Air quality is a very serious issue and customer attitudes and priorities are changing rapidly. So consider this: Europe already is one of the most urban regions in the world with 73% of the population living in cities and the numbers continue to climb even in mature cities and in regions.
Take Barcelona. Here Barcelona is already the sixth most populous urban city center here in Europe and is expected to grow another 17% more to more than 5.5 million people by the year 2030. And as a result of course congestion and gridlock are on the rise and consumers are really feeling it.
Research indicates that the majority of people in Europe feel commuting can actually be more stressful than their daily jobs. And listen to this quote: “My smartphone is my preferred mode of transport” and that’s from Patrick McLoughlin who is the UK’s Secretary of State for Transportation. So people keep talking about how the auto industry needs to change to avoid being disrupted by the tech companies.
Well, at Ford, we decided to disrupt ourselves by expanding our business model. First, we are further growing our core business which is all around designing, manufacturing, marketing, servicing and financing great cars, SUVs, trucks and also electrified vehicles. But at the same time we’re aggressively pursuing emerging opportunities through Ford Smart Mobility and becoming part of transportation services to meet customer needs and become part of a huge revenue stream.
Think about this: The traditional global auto industry generates about $2.3 trillion in revenue each year. And today at Ford we get about 6% of that. At the same time, transportation services which include things like mass transit, taxis and ride sharing totals about $5.4 trillion in revenue, an amount that’s expected to grow steadily in the next 15 years. Yet today, Ford and automotive competitors get virtually none of this business and that is a massive opportunity and it’s the reason we’re expanding our business model and our customer offerings.
And we’re doing this from a position of strength. Ford last year delivered record profits and grew our global market share due to the strength of our new products. We were America’s best-selling vehicle for the sixth straight year in a row and here in Europe we grew our market share last year, the second year in a row, and we became Europe’s top commercial vehicle brand. From the Fiesta small car to the Mustang sports car to our bestselling trucks and SUVs, our product strength continues to gain momentum, and that includes seven new or upgraded vehicles that we’re introducing here in Europe this year alone, including the new Kuga which is making its world debut right here at the Mobile World Congress.
Kuga is a thoroughly modern SUV for today’s world. It’s connected, it’s intuitive, it’s more fuel-efficient and it’s packed with semi autonomous technologies like automatic braking and parking, and perhaps most importantly, at a mobile technology conference, it comes with SYNC 3, the most advanced version of our popular in-car connectivity system, which I’ll talk more about in a moment.
Now Kuga is already extremely popular. In fact, last year was Kuga’s best ever sales year in Europe since it was introduced. And you can see the new Kuga which is built right here in Spain on our stand in Hall 3 here today and we encourage you to go check it out.
Products like Kuga with SYNC 3 are just one example of how serious we are of being an auto and mobility company. Transportation we feel is on the cusp of a revolution and it’s inspiring a revolution at Ford. To us, mobility is about giving people the freedom to live to work and to play where they want. And it’s about making people’s lives better by changing the way the world moves.
And today we’re proud to share more news tied to our progress in all five areas of Ford Smart Mobility. So let’s start with Connectivity.
Ford SYNC is the industry’s most popular in-vehicle entertainment and communication system, and right now there are more than 15 million SYNC equipped vehicles on the road globally. And by 2020, we expect more than 43 million vehicles will be on the road with SYNC, helping drivers stay connected on the move while keeping their hands on the wheel and their eyes on the road.
And today we’re announcing that our third-generation SYNC — SYNC 3 — is coming to Europe this year. It’s going to be debuting on Mondeo, S-MAX and Galaxy and of course the new Kuga. We’re also announcing that SYNC 3 will be compatible with both Android Auto and Apple Carplay giving users access to even more functionality via voice control or their touch screen.
SYNC 3 is more intuitive, it’s easier to use and even quicker than the previous generation. It also has an all new graphical interface that smartphone users will find familiar and can be updated over the air through a Wi-fi connection. SYNC 3 also features five new languages supporting a broad spectrum of European markets and more conversational speech recognition.
So just push a button and say “I need coffee” or “I need petrol” or “I need to park” and SYNC 3 will find the places that you need to go.
Today we’re also announcing at the same time five new AppLink partners in Europe — MyBoxMan, HearMeOut, AccuWeather, Cadena Ser and Los 40. And our AppLink platform and supporting developer program literally allows developers to develop apps directly for SYNC 3 giving our customers easy access to their services, information and entertainment. In fact, one of the partners – MyBoxMan – traces its origins to a hackathon that we organized just a few months ago at Web Summit in Dublin and MyBoxMan is a social shipping act – think about Uber for packages or for deliveries. So if you’re making a journey you can check the weather and you can check whether anyone in your area needs to get a package from where you are to where you’re going and in process, well, you get to make a little money.
Now let’s talk about Mobility. We’re seeing great results from our on-demand car sharing service that we launched in London last year which we call GoDrive. GoDrive is growing fast because of the flexibility it provides customers with a one-way trip availability, guaranteed parking and pay per minute pricing as opposed to the “by the hour” pricing of other services and we’ve expanded the program to 25 hubs across London, including major transport centers such as Waterloo Station and City Airport.