Jim Hackett told Steve Cropley that he believes it's right to stay in Europe
Speaking to Autocar at the Detroit motor show, Hackett said: "We've made a big commitment in Europe, and it looks as if Brexit is reaching some kind of resumption. Jim Farley, who headed our operations in Europe, helped us learn many things about that region. Ford wants to be a leader”.
Hackett also believes Europe’s position as an early adopter in the electrified and autonomous businesses creates another reason for Ford to stay.
"The electric movement in Europe has helped us see the power challenges," he said.
Hackett explained that “new cars with no pedals and no steering wheel” have, in his opinion, proved to be less productive. He said: “There's a likelihood of scaring people - they'll feel they're in there by themselves. It's better to see driverless cars as robotic servants for delivery and co-ordination of lives."
Ford has partnered with pizza company Domino’s to produce an autonomous delivery car. Hackett said that "people loved the ease of taking their food from a machine”. He expects the rise of these cars to be “very good news for small businesses".
However, Hackett refuted that people will give up car ownership in large numbers anytime soon. "Many people have a passion for cars. I don't see them giving up the joy of driving,” he said.
On industry timescales, Hackett said he divides company affairs into three categories - now, near and far - those periods separated by five to seven years. It means far may only be a decade away, but it entails at least two model changes. That's why there's very little time to lose.
Hackett therefore believes the company’s One Ford plan, in which it produced global versions of its models rather than variants for regions, was right for the time, as a way if building scale for various platforms. But the company is now changing things "to give people in particular regions a little more control”.