Here’s Why We’re Co-Creating Our Future with Google

David McClelland, Vice President Strategy and Partnerships, Ford Motor Company

Ford Motor Company
4 min readFeb 1, 2021


This is a pivotal moment for Ford Motor Company. The auto industry is undergoing seismic changes as new technology transforms the way people move. Most automakers already have decided if they want to lead change or cede it to others. We continue making clear through our words and investments that we plan to disrupt. But not alone. We will partner for expertise and efficiency and learn from the best so we can bring more value to the customer.

Today, we are executing on this important part of our plan by partnering with Google, which knows a thing or two about disruption, and how to speed up the modernization process.

We’re proud to share that Ford and Google are establishing a new collaborative group fittingly called Team Upshift, comprised of employees from both companies and tasked with driving future innovations. We’re going to leverage the talent and assets of both companies to push the boundaries of Ford’s transformation, unlock personalized consumer experiences, and drive disruptive, data-driven opportunities. This may include projects ranging from modernizing our plants through vision AI, developing new retail experiences when buying a vehicle, creating new ownership offers based on connected vehicle data, and more.

It also means employing Google Cloud as our preferred cloud provider, which lets us tap into Google’s world-class expertise in data, artificial intelligence and machine learning. It means building on a shared vision of providing safer and more efficient connected vehicle experiences by integrating Android and Google services directly into our vehicles.

And it means coming together to dream up brand new products and services people can’t live without.

Partnering with Google will help us realize multiple aspects of our plan, such as:

Modernizing everywhere: By leveraging Google Cloud, we’ll continue our digital transformation and power connected vehicle technologies with a trusted, secure and global cloud solution. A few things we’ll be focused on include:

· Further improving customer experiences by deploying innovative and personalized services.

· Accelerating the modernization of our product development, manufacturing and supply chain management, including exploring the potential for vision AI to aid the training of manufacturing employees and to help attain even more reliable plant equipment performance.

· Fast-tracking the implementation of business models resulting in customers receiving real-time notices such as maintenance requests or trade-in alerts.

Delivering must-have products and services: These days, it’s not enough to just offer competitive products. The product has to be so good, so unique, that customers have no doubt about making it a part of their life. Working with Google helps us deliver features and services that customers will be excited about, including:

· Beginning in 2023, Ford and Lincoln customers globally will benefit from unique digital experiences built on top of Google’s Android operating system and with Google apps and services built-in to our vehicles, including world-class map and voice technology.

· In addition to the Google Play ecosystem, Ford and third-party developers will create even more apps to enable an improving and more personalized ownership experience.

· By leveraging Android Automotive, Ford also will be able to divert significant software engineering talent from operating system development to the creation of unique Ford and Lincoln customer innovations.

Disrupting the way we think: Historically, we’ve thought of products first and services second. As a company whose history is steeped in manufacturing, that’s only natural. But as industry and customer needs shift, it’s critical that we focus just as much on services as we do our vehicles. Teaming up with Google allows us to accelerate our ability to challenge our current ownership model and deploy new business models to capture recurring revenue and profit from software, data and connected ecosystems.

At Ford, we are obsessed with giving our vehicles distinctive personalities. That includes exciting designs you can’t miss, but also unique in-vehicle experiences that make each trip more enjoyable, and better than the last one. It means that whether our customers are hard at work, braving the great outdoors or looking for peace and mind on the road, we’re building a future tailored specifically for their needs.

Top-tier services. Cutting edge experiences. A commitment to excellence. At the end of the day, that’s what we’re about at Ford — and it’s what this new relationship will help us deliver.

You’re going to like what you see. And we’re confident you won’t want to live without it.



Ford Motor Company

Our mission is to deliver great products and make the world a better place. Go Further.