Ford X is an in-house startup incubator that puts money behind ideas, most of them from Ford employees. The goal is to keep a hand in new business models and opportunities rather than stagnating, which is always a risk at storied, established companies.
“Automotive companies are often seen as very slow-moving companies,” Carla Bailo, president and CEO of the Ann Arbor-based Center for Automotive Research, told Detroit Newslast year. “As a result, they’re not getting people lined up at the door. They’re no longer seen as places of innovation. These new types of programs will help them not only attract, but retain good people.”
Ford X has resulted in the company’s GoRide non-emergency medical transportation service, which uses Ford Transit vans to get elderly people to medical appointments. The idea was originally pitched by a Ford employee.
The startup organization’s newest project is the Find Your Fordonline platform, which aggregates used vehicle inventory from six dealerships in Detroit into a database that makes it easier for used vehicle shoppers to find specific makes and models of used Ford vehicles. The ultimate plan is to expand and bring approximately 100,000 used Ford vehicles currently on U.S. dealer lots onto the Find Your Ford platform. The platform is timely: analysts say the used car market is heating up as a record number of off-lease vehicles return to dealers to be sold this year. According to Cox Automotive, there are a record 4.1 million vehicles that will come off-lease in 2019 alone.
Here’s how it works: vehicle shoppers search the Find Your Ford listings for their ideal used vehicle by choosing the features they most want. They then schedule a time to go and see the vehicle at the dealership. (At this time, they can use the platform to ask questions.) If the car meets with approval, shoppers then complete their purchase in-store.