Ford Motor Company announced that it had recruited the senior executive in charge of Apple’s top-secret car project to assist the company in its drive into electric vehicles. Doug Field, the executive, will be in charge of transforming Ford cars into software-driven models that can engage with clients and offer new kinds of services, which Ford and other automakers believe will become more essential in the future. Mr. Field will report to CEO Jim Farley and hold the embedded systems officer as well as chief advanced technology.
Mr. Field, 56, was vice-president in charge of the special projects at Apple and was a key figure in the company’s years-long endeavor to develop an electric vehicle. His departure might serve as a setback for Apple’s vehicle ambitions, which have been hotly debated. Mr. Field was formerly vice president in charge of engineering at Tesla. Here, he oversaw the development of the company’s Model 3 sedan, which is the company’s most inexpensive vehicle. Mr. Field began his career as an engineer at the Ford Company, where he worked for several years.
Like other traditional automakers, Ford has lost engineers and executives to startups and tech businesses, so the hire is a triumph. Ford conducted a teleconference for journalists with Mr. Farley and Mr. Field, demonstrating how significant Mr. Field’s comeback is to the firm.
On the call, Mr. Field stated, “I believe the car sector is in a moment of significant transformation.” “Everything will change as a result of electrification, software, networked vehicles, and autonomy. Startups are often the ones who bring these innovative technologies to market.” He added that he genuinely witnessed “a deep desire to shift and adopt these technologies” at Ford. Mr. Farley stated that Ford intended to form a management team around Mr. Field. Mr. Farley stated, “We will battle for talent.” “We’re not done yet.”
From 1987 through 1993, Mr. Field, a Purdue University as well as Massachusetts Institute of Technology alumnus, worked for Ford. Before joining Tesla in 2013, he worked for 9 years at the Segway, manufacturer of stand-up scooter, and five years at Apple in hardware engineering. He departed Tesla in 2018 to rejoin Apple as the business struggled to mass manufacture the Model 3. Mr. Field declined an invite to comment on the call when asked if his departure from Apple signaled the end of the tech giant’s aspirations to develop an automobile.
Ford has already begun to offer electrified cars. The Mustang Mach-E sport utility car has done well, and thousands of reservations have been taken for an electric model of the F-150 pickup truck, that will be on sale next year. Ford anticipates that by 2030, 40% of the vehicles it produces will be electrified.
However, unlike Tesla, Ford and other conventional car manufacturers have not reached as far as Tesla in transforming vehicles and trucks into software-centered goods that can be enhanced and modified via over-the-air upgrades, similar to how smartphones can.