Ford and Google announced a six-year strategic partnership in which they will collaborate on new technologies and install Google’s Android operating system as the primary system in its infotainment screens in millions of Ford and Lincoln cars and trucks starting in 2023.
Android’s operating system will enable drivers to access Google Maps for in-vehicle navigation and Google’s Voice Assistant for handling voice commands in the car without the use of an Android phone. Ford vehicles have come with the automaker’s proprietary Sync system since 2007, which has been featured across its portfolio. It is not clear whether Ford will continue to use the Sync name on this new system.
Starting in 2023, Ford cars will also begin offering an in-car version of the Google Play Store to download apps for things like music, audiobooks, and podcasts.
In addition, Google will also be Ford’s preferred provider for cloud data storage, executives from Ford and Google said. Ford will also use Google’s artificial intelligence and data analytics capabilities to better interpret the data it collects from vehicles and its own operations to improve upon things like customer service, manufacturing, and marketing.
The partnership is the most recent change for Ford under Jim Farley, who has restructured the automaker’s operations and management team since becoming CEO in October. The company’s stock is up about 60% under his tenure.
“One of the most important parts of our strategy is to partner,” Farley told CNBC. “That means that we have to get out of the business of doing generic things that we do not add value, like navigation systems and a lot of the in-car entertainment experience.” He added, “We were spending hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of millions every year, keeping up with basically a generic experience that was not competitive to your cellphone.”
Farley said the deal is worth “hundreds of millions” of dollars but declined to provide a specific number.