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Driverless Trucks at Ford: Cruising into a Compromised Brand Identity?
Venkatesan, Rajkumar; Craddock, Jenny Case M-0967 / Published January 31, 2019 / 24 pages.
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Product Overview

In the summer of 2018, iconic American automaker Ford Motor Company (Ford) created a new limited liability company, Ford Autonomous Vehicles LLC (Ford AV), and charged the organization "with accelerating [Ford's] AV business to capitalize on market opportunities." Alongside Ford's well-publicized push to debut robot-taxi and driverless delivery services in 2021 via the Ford AV unit, the company had also recently announced that it was retreating from the American car business and dropping several sedans in order to focus on its more lucrative line of trucks and SUVs, a move that was in line with Ford's long-standing reliance on the success of its trucks division, especially the F-Series, which the company first released in 1948. As the management team at Ford AV assumed their new roles and looked ahead to the not-so-distant future of autonomous vehicles at Ford, they wondered how they might incorporate self-driving technology into the F-Series lineup. In the case, the reader is presented with the driverless technology strategies of many of Ford's competitors in both the tech and automotive industry, and faced with developing a strategy around a potential autonomous F-150 pickup truck at Ford. Could an autonomous F-150 pickup make sense for the company? On one hand, delaying the decision could put Ford behind the curve. On the other hand, the F-Series brand buoyed its consumers' sense of independence and control, and aligning the F-Series to autonomous vehicle technology too soon might erode consumers' loyalty.


Learning Objectives

Introduce students to a successful brand creation story. Reveal successful approaches to product evolution and testing. Expose the trade-offs and risks when altering customers' perception of a beloved product with AI. Explore dimensions of the human-machine interface.

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  • Overview

    In the summer of 2018, iconic American automaker Ford Motor Company (Ford) created a new limited liability company, Ford Autonomous Vehicles LLC (Ford AV), and charged the organization "with accelerating [Ford's] AV business to capitalize on market opportunities." Alongside Ford's well-publicized push to debut robot-taxi and driverless delivery services in 2021 via the Ford AV unit, the company had also recently announced that it was retreating from the American car business and dropping several sedans in order to focus on its more lucrative line of trucks and SUVs, a move that was in line with Ford's long-standing reliance on the success of its trucks division, especially the F-Series, which the company first released in 1948. As the management team at Ford AV assumed their new roles and looked ahead to the not-so-distant future of autonomous vehicles at Ford, they wondered how they might incorporate self-driving technology into the F-Series lineup. In the case, the reader is presented with the driverless technology strategies of many of Ford's competitors in both the tech and automotive industry, and faced with developing a strategy around a potential autonomous F-150 pickup truck at Ford. Could an autonomous F-150 pickup make sense for the company? On one hand, delaying the decision could put Ford behind the curve. On the other hand, the F-Series brand buoyed its consumers' sense of independence and control, and aligning the F-Series to autonomous vehicle technology too soon might erode consumers' loyalty.

  • Learning Objectives

    Learning Objectives

    Introduce students to a successful brand creation story. Reveal successful approaches to product evolution and testing. Expose the trade-offs and risks when altering customers' perception of a beloved product with AI. Explore dimensions of the human-machine interface.