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The Dearborn, Michigan-based automaker said its “mobility” segment – which includes the autonomous vehicle program – operated at a $368 million loss for the quarter, contributing to a $2 billion overall loss, during an earnings call Tuesday.
Ford said the loss in mobility was expected as it continues to invest in the technology and business model. Volkswagen has joined Ford in the endeavor, and VW’s investment in the Ford-backed Argo AI, its partner on the autonomous vehicle development, is “on track,” according to Ford’s investor presentation.
The service had previously been planned to launch in 2021.
The company’s leadership pointed to the coronavirus pandemic for slowing sales in the quarter, but COO Jim Farley said Ford was working to assess how it could end up shifting consumer behavior, even after the pandemic is over. Changes could include those autonomous services, as well as “zero-touch” delivery Ford began offering in China amid the pandemic.
“We believe this pandemic could affect how our customers live and work for many years going forward,” Farley said.
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The investment could end up giving Ford a big payoff. Last year, Farley spoke about alternative revenue streams Ford was investigating in order to monetize time passengers spend in its future self-driving vehicles, saying they could account for as much as 95 percent of the revenue from the vehicles.