Ford will begin testing self-driving cars in some US cities in 2018, the company’s CEO revealed on an earnings call with analysts and reporters on Thursday, according to recent reports.
Beyond that information, though, new Ford CEO Jim Hackett didn’t reveal any other details about the company’s plans for the self-driving vehicle tech sector, other than that Ford is now working to develop new partnerships with businesses that could help its self-driving vehicles be put to work in commercial applications separate from on-demand taxi services.
Notably, the Ford CEO declined to answer queries about whether or not the company was still planning to put such vehicles into service by 2021 — which was the timeline given by the last CEO, Mark Fields, before his “firing.”
“Rival General Motors Co said in recent weeks it plans to accelerate the commercial application of its self-driving Chevrolet Bolts, some of which could be in operation before 2020. GM also plans to introduce 20 electric vehicles by 2023,” Reuters aptly notes.
“Year to date, GM’s stock is up nearly 30%, while Ford is down almost 1%. In mid-morning trade, Ford was up 0.3% to $12.08. Wall Street has been underwhelmed by Ford, particularly by Hackett’s caveat that most of the company’s $14 billion in planned cost savings will not show up on Ford‘s bottom line until 2019 and 2020.”
Interestingly, when questioned about the company’s weak stock performance, Ford Chief Financial Officer Bob Shanks argued that as the company now has a “really good plan” for electric vehicles and self-driving car technology, things were likely to improve notably over time. “I think the market will reward us,” were his exact words.
Does Ford now have a really good plan?