Ford’s smart mobility team 14,000-15,000 strong

Marcy Klevorn: The team has all the “Lego pieces” it needs.

Ford’s Smart Mobility subsidiary — founded last year to handle the purchase and development of new transportation services — is comprised of 14,000 to 15,000 employees globally, a top executive said Wednesday.

That would represent about 7 percent of the 201,000 employees Ford had at the end of last year.

Marcy Klevorn, Ford’s president of mobility, discussed the Smart Mobility unit during the Barclays Capital Global Automotive Conference in New York. It includes teams from Ford’s information technology department and other parts of the business with clusters of employees based in Michigan, Silicon Valley, India, China and other parts of the world.

Before he was named CEO in May, Jim Hackett was the group’s chairman.

It’s those employees’ job to help Ford merge its product development cycles with digital service plans, Klevorn said. The automaker believes such services — including ride-hailing and autonomous fleet management — eventually will produce higher profit margins than the company generates from building and selling vehicles.

Klevorn said the team has all the “Lego pieces” it needs, including the FordPass app, the Chariot shuttle service it bought last year and its investment in the open-source mobility platform Autonomic, to develop money-making initiatives, although she declined to reveal specifics.

“It’s just a matter of assembling these pieces quickly and kicking out product,” she said. “We have all the elements in place today to really make an impact here.”