WardsAuto Podcast: Plotting the Future with Ford’s Chief Futurist

The toughest job in the auto industry these days may be timing of technological change. Ford’s chief futurist Jennifer Brace has the job of helping the automaker be as prepared as it can be.

Wards Staff

June 10, 2024

Timing is everything. Most of the time. Ford, for example, has been trying to be as fast a follower of Tesla’s battery-electric-vehicle leadership as possible. It came out with the Mustang Mach-E and F-150 Lightning pretty quickly to best the competition. What Ford found out, though, was that it was a bit out over its skis in terms of the pace of consumer demand.

Now, the company is rushing to build more hybrids and plug-in hybrids, as well as slowing some its BEV projects. There is huge money at stake when it comes to getting the timing right.

Jennifer Brace, a Michigan native whose father worked at Ford much of his career, is the automaker’s Chief Futurist. Brace talked  with WardsAuto Podcast Host David Kiley about her job and the challenges of reading consumer trends and attitudes and communicating those reads to engineers, designers and product development team members.

Click here to play the episode.

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