DETROIT — Ford Motor Co. CEO Mark Fields' decision to spend billions on autonomy, electrification and new mobility services is being questioned by shareholders and, apparently, some directors as the automaker sacrifices some profits today for ventures that may not pay off for years.
Other automakers, such as Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, have conceded the autonomous race to others, waiting to buy off-the-shelf technologies and products when self-driving capabilities and consumer acceptance are more established.
The Wall Street Journal first reported that Ford's board scheduled extra time to question Fields ahead of its annual meeting. During the shareholder meeting a few days later, Ford's top executives faced multiple questions about its investment plans.
Ford has no plans to deviate from its path, Joe Hinrichs, Ford's President of the Americas, told Automotive News before last week's meeting. The automaker wants to be viewed as a leader in an evolving industry, even if that means short-term financial headaches.