A traditional carmaker, Ford Motors is diversifying in the mobility services segment with changing consumer tastes of not wanting to own a vehicle.
As per an executive from Ford Motors, the carmaker is set to launch its Chariot minibus services in the 6th U.S. city “very shortly”.
The development underscores the growing appeal among consumers to avail of ride services rather than own a car.
Ford is increasingly making efforts to diversify into other modes of transportation from its traidtional business model of selling vehicles to consumers, with tech giants Alphabet’s Google and Uber shaking up the traditional automotive industry.
Traditional carmakers have begun experimenting with mobility services and have partnered with tech giants to develops apps or they are developing their own set of offerings, including car clubs as a way to appeal to urban youth, who are increasingly shunned the idea of owning a vehicle.
Having acquired Chariot in 2016 Ford has been expanding the service, which allows passengers to book seats for journeys that are typically between two transport hubs, or ride facilities.
From this week, this service will be available in New York City, San Francisco, Seattle, Austin, Columbus, and London, where Chariot will operate four routes in areas south of the River Thames which are generally not near underground stations.
As per Marcy Klevorn, Ford’s global president of mobility, the service is set to expand very soon to other locations as well.
“We’ve got a couple of other launches lined up and … one I think fairly shortly,” said Klevorn, in an interview.
As per Sarah-Jayne Williams, director of smart mobility at Ford, Europe, the carmaker’s investment in London has created 24 jobs, so far, with more to follow since Ford is likely to widen its product offering.
“We’re also looking at different enterprise routes or charter-type services which we would hope to extend during this year,” said Jayne Williams.