For many years, we've heard automaker executives talk about turning their companies from vehicle sales machines into mobility solutions, but it turns out there are even more possibilities for what 100-year-old car companies can become. For example, did you know that Ford wants to become a data company, just like any other Silicon Valley start up? That was one of the takeaway points from CEO Mark Fields' remarks during a free-ranging discussion with journalists in Las Vegas last night as part of CES 2016.

"Overall, when you look at our business, we're not only a car manufacturing company. We are a technology company," he said. "As our vehicles become part of the Internet of things and as consumers give permission to us to collect that data, we'll also become an information company."

What does The Blue Oval want with all of its drivers' information? Fields said Ford is building up its analytics work force as it gets ready to process the terabytes of data that will come streaming in in the future. Fields said that the end result of all of this data collection will be some product that Ford can then offer those customers (and, of course, new ones). So, instead of asking customers what do they want, Ford will be able to ask if they want Thing A or Thing B, suspecting with some confidence that the customers will actually want both. "Our differentiator will be how we use that data to satisfy our customers in ways that they never thought possible in their lives," he said.


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