Ford Sees Software as Most Valuable Part of Today's Car

AutoTech 2024 hears how the entrance of software into vehicles will continue to be the biggest driver of changes in mobility.

Paul Myles, European Editor

June 17, 2024

2 Min Read
Ford Mustang
Consumers want more in-car experiences through connectivity.

NOVI, MI -- The biggest change in how we access mobility has come from software which will become the single most valuable aspect of how we move about.

That’s the opinion of Ford’s product, design and strategy executive, Zafar Razzacki, addressing AutoTech 2024’s panel discussion, The Car Reimagined - Mobility In The Age Of Robots, AI And The Digital World. He suggests that while the hardware has comparatively remained largely the same over the past few decades, the entrance of software into the vehicle sees mobility change radically compared to the simple function of moving people from A-to-B.

He says: “The car’s software will be more valuable than anything else in the years to come. There is all this data coming in, while at the same time compute power is getting cheaper, and this is where AI comes into play. This means cybersecurity is a big challenge, but AI can solve these problems.”

That said, Razzacki does see serious challenges facing automakers in engaging with the new digital natives who buy their products. He explains: “The challenge is how we work with consumers who don’t think about the car as we did about the car. Today OEMs are used to high-value, low-transaction business models so it’s a huge challenge -- how do we make money out of this new world?”

Michelle Ober, associate director for business development at in-car experience provider WongDoody, agrees that consumer engagement is the key to monetizing today’s connected vehicle. She explains: ““When we think about in-car experience, so much is getting crammed into the car. All of us have become consumers of every app in our phone. So, when you think of the expectations for in-car experience, there is a lot to look at. The question is, what (do) people want at that specific time? When we look at designing an experience, we have to look at lots of different angles. It’s the human aspect of how we look at that person and make the moment as impactful as possible.”

Many automakers are targeting these younger consumers and are still waiting to see much by way of return on investment, says Rakesh Gollapalli, regional head for automotive and aerospace manufacturing for Infosys. He says: “The value proposition of the car is a lot different to when my dad bought his car. A lot of the tech we explore we can create new experiences and how to monetize them when we do? We are all learning at the moment as the capabilities of the car increase and how the consumer will pay for them. I see our industry moving in the way that companies like Apple have changed its model.”

About the Author(s)

Paul Myles

European Editor, Informa Group

Paul Myles is an award-winning journalist based in Europe covering all aspects of the automotive industry. He has a wealth of experience in the field working at specialist, national and international levels.

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