In 2008, your small-car strategy was a pillar of your plan here. Nobody saw gas prices falling the way that they have. What is Ford's small-car strategy knowing what you know now?
When you look at the car market in general, those segments are still pretty large. They're down from where they've been. The midsize car segment's been consistent the last couple months at 11.5 percent; that's still one of the largest segments. Same thing for compact cars where our Focus participates in. So you're going to see us keep our product fresh in those markets, because you never know where consumer demand is going to go. We get questions of "Oh, why don't you just get out of the car business?' It's important that we have a full lineup of vehicles, because you never know what's going to happen with the economy with regulations, with customer preferences, and we want to be there for customers wherever they go. We'll keep our car lineup very fresh.
Does it surprise you how dramatic the shift has been to SUVs?
It's pretty significant. I think it's pretty unprecedented. At the same time, what's been unprecedented is some of the external changes: gas prices, interest rates, etc. The lesson there is just as things can move that way, they can move back the other way as well. There's that old saying: "Everything reverts to the mean.' Now, I'm not saying customers always revert to the mean, but you never know. I was with a bunch of young folks the other weekend and they were singing the praises of, believe it or not, station wagons.
On your goal of a Level 4 self-driving car by 2021, how do you get from here to there in that time?
First off, you get alignment around the rallying cry that you're shooting for. Our intent is to have a vehicle out in 2021. We've been developing autonomous vehicles for over 10 years now. We've had a lot of experience obviously in developing driver assist features -- Level 1, Level 2. From our standpoint, going to Level 4 was important because with Level 3, how do you responsibly hand off or re-engage the driver in a timely manner? We're going to be working very hard to meet that 2021 deadline that we've set for ourselves. We have a great team and a great set of partners.
Are you confident that the technology will be there?
We think the technology is coming along really well. There's a lot of testing still to be done. When you look at getting an autonomous vehicle into the marketplace, there are always risks. But we think we're well positioned. When you look at the risks -- risks around technology, risks around regulation, risks around economics, and finally customer adoption -- we think we're well positioned on those things.
How long will it be until profits from mobility services make up a significant part of Ford Motor Co.?
You see some elements rolling out -- our purchase of Chariot, the dynamic shuttle company in San Francisco; we'll be rolling that out in six cities over the next 18 months. We're targeting at least 20 percent returns on the services side of it, and we already get that from some services businesses we have today, but it will be a while before it becomes a significant portion of our business. That's why we're thinking through very clearly where do we want to play and how we think we will win in these areas, because we have to be really intellectually honest with ourselves by asking what are we bringing to the party that for others would be hard to duplicate.
We're thinking through this very deliberately to make sure it makes sense for us and fills a need for the consumer.