SAN FRANCISCO, Sept 9 Ford Motor Co said
on Friday it would acquire San Francisco-based shuttle service
Chariot with plans to expand the service globally, another step
in the carmaker expands beyond auto manufacturing to become a
The Detroit automaker said Chariot plans to expand
internationally, moving into five more markets in the next 18
months. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Ford, which said it would set up a "city solutions" team to
work with cities around the world on transportation, is trying
to diversify from vehicles sold to consumers into other modes of
transportation amid massive disruption in the traditional
The bet on mobility in congested, urban zones helps protect
traditional carmakers as the advent of autonomous vehicles and
growing popularity of ride services like Uber and Lyft
threaten car ownership.
"By expanding our business model to include new forms of
transportation - from bikes to dynamic shuttles and more - we
are introducing new customers to Ford and creating new revenue
and profit opportunities for the future," said Jim Hackett,
chairman of Ford Smart Mobility LLC.
The company also said it would launch its "Ford GoBike" bike
sharing program next year with the company Motivate, adding new
stations and 7,000 bikes throughout the greater San Francisco
Bay Area by the end of 2018.
Currently, Chariot operates 100 Ford Transit shuttles in the
San Francisco Bay Area along 28 routes. The on-demand shuttles
will use data to map out the best routes to serve the public's
needs, Ford said.
Ford has already begun small, pilot shuttle programs in
Kansas City, Missouri, and Dearborn, Michigan.
Other carmakers experimenting with mobility services include
General Motors, Fiat Chrysler, Volkswagen
(Reporting by Alexandria Sage; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)