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Ford CFO Bob Shanks Sees Fully Autonomous Cars In 4-5 Years

Ford CFO Bob Shanks Sees Fully Autonomous Cars In 4-5 Years

On Monday morning’s PreMarket Prep, Ford Motor Company (NYSE: F) CFO Bob Shanks discussed the growth potential of the global auto market, the rise of electric vehicles and the potential time frame for driverless cars. Ford is coming off a record quarter, but Shanks believes the company can continue to count on Asia for more growth looking ahead.

“We see China as a growth market for years ahead,” Shanks said, adding that more and more residents of Tier 4–6 cities will be able to afford vehicles.

Related Link: BofA Re-Racks The Detroit Three: 1. GM 2. Ford 3. Fiat Chrysler

Ford's Timeline

One of the biggest headlines of the year so far in the auto industry has been the unveiling of the Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ: TSLA) Model 3. Shanks said that Ford is also investing heavily in electric vehicles.

“We’re putting $4.5 billion in investment into further electrification of our lineup over the next four to five years,” he noted. He estimates that about 40 percent of Ford’s lineup will be electric (hybrid or fully electric) by 2026.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV (NYSE: FCAU) has been actively seeking a merger in recent years, but Shanks doesn’t see consolidation as a particularly appealing avenue for Ford.

“That’s something people have been talking about for years and years. I’m personally skeptical about that. It’s very difficult to take large complex enterprises… and just kind of bring them together and have that make a lot of sense,” he concluded.

Finally, Shanks said that he expects driverless cars may arrive on the scene sooner than many may think.

“What we expect is that somebody will be introducing what we call a 'level 4' autonomous vehicle, that’s one where a driver does not have to intervene or pay attention at all to the vehicle while it’s driving, probably within the next four or five years,” Shanks said.

So far, Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ: GOOGL) (NASDAQ: GOOG) has been one of the leaders in developing and testing autonomous vehicles.

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