Hybridcars.com reports that Ford is thinking ahead on congestion, sustainability and car ownership in the developing world. The company took advantage of the spotlight at the Detroit Auto Show to hold a startlingly honest discussion of the future of automotive transport in fast-growing urban areas.
Sue Cischke, Ford’s Group Vice President of Sustainability, Environment and Safety Engineering, said that the company realizes that the American model of universal car ownership may run into severe problems with resource depletion and shortage of space. This is already evident in places like Cairo, Moscow and Beijing, where increasing wealth has brought a sharp rise in the number of personal vehicles on the road, resulting in terrible vortices of traffic with attendant noise, stress and pollution.
Even more candidly, Cischke stated that Ford doesn’t yet know what place it will have in this new environment, and is exploring different approaches, such as joint vehicle ownership. The company is also contemplating branching out into information technology and transport integration. She acknowledged that car ownership as it exists in America isn’t going anywhere, which means Michigan auto transport companies have many years of unabated business.
In other news, a major merger was realized past week in the trucking business, as Egan, Minn.-based Transport America acquired Southern Cal Transport (headquartered, despite its name, in Birmingham, Ala.) The new conglomeration of freight brokers will have over 2200 drivers, and will be able to offer services such as over-the-road solo trucking, teams, dedicated, regional transport, and so on.
Initially, the two companies will function separately, with operations gradually being merged over time, with unknown consequences for the new company’s labor force.