Ford confirmed during its quarterly earnings call on 28 April that the company is delaying plans to launch its autonomous vehicle to 2022. Ford reported a $2 billion loss in Q1 of 2020, as well as disruptions to the business due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so the launch delay was inevitable. The company originally intended for a 2021 commercial launch of its self-driving vehicles.
“Given the challenges of the current business environment, as well as the need to evaluate the long-term impact of COVID-19 on customer behaviors, Ford made the decision to shift the launch of its self-driving services to 2022. Understanding customer behavior is a critically important part of building a new mobility service built around trust and making people’s lives easier. Taking the time to research changes in customer behaviors provides Ford with an opportunity to evaluate and potentially change our go-to-market strategy to meet new consumer demands,” Ford said in a statement.
The company anticipates that the COVID-19 pandemic will continue to disrupt its business in Q2 and expects consumer behavior to change due to its effects. In this regard, Ford says that it needs to study the pandemic’s long-term impacts on the behavior of its customers first. Ford Chief Operating Officer Jim Farley also believes that the pandemic may spur interest in adoption of autonomy especially goods delivery, and micromobility.