Ford Motor Company President and CEO Mark Fields attended Recode‘s third-ever Code Conference earlier in the week, answering questions before a crowd of attendees about Ford’s future plans to provide mobility services, and more importantly, whether its “Smart Mobility” plan signifies the beginning of the end for the automobile as we know it.
You can watch a clip of highlights from Mark Fields’ appearance above.
Despite all of Ford’s efforts with regard to developing a fully-autonomous vehicle and conducting mobility experiments around the globe, the automaker still seems as committed as ever to enthusiasts who prefer to chauffeur themselves. Ford Performance offers more manual-transmission-only models than any other global automaker, with the Shelby GT350/R, Fiesta ST, Focus ST, and Focus RS all shipping exclusively with a stick. Moreover, the new Ford GT has been one of the most-talked-about performance cars of the year, and still more performance models are on the way before the end of the decade.
Nonetheless, when you take Ford’s Smart Mobility initiative into account, the automaker is sending undeniably mixed messages. As in previous encounters with similar questions, Ford CEO Mark Fields managed to remain intentionally ambivalent in the answers he provided at the 2016 Code Conference, stopping short of giving us any reason to fret over the future of the human-piloted automobile as the company shifts some attention to (especially urban) transportation services.
What do you think?