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Ford buys electric scooters that want to diversify beyond cars

Ford MotorCo.enters the fast-growing electric scooter store by acquiring the San Francisco-based starting point, as more car makers push into…

Ford Motor
Co.

enters the fast-growing electric scooter store by acquiring the San Francisco-based starting point, as more car makers push into services aimed at city residents, perhaps Ford does not want to buy your own car.

Ford said it bought the two-year electric scooter company, operating in about a dozen US cities, including Denver, Charlotte, NC and Long Beach, California.

The deal is valued at about $ 80 million to $ 90 million, according to people familiar with the issue.

Within the next and a half years, Ford said it aims to expand the scooter operator to more than 100 US cities, as part of a broader driving force from Dearborn, Mich. based car maker to expand its city transport service.

Auto manufacturers were concerned that the more than one hundred year old model for buying and selling cars could possibly lose favor in densely populated areas, focusing on how future transport can look, part icularly as smartphone apps create easier way for consumers to make short trips on demand.

Car companies have primarily focused their investments on driving hail and autonomous vehicle development, although more dabbling in deals like e-bikes and new software apps that do not involve cars.

Ford is the latest company to venture into Silicon Valley’s scooter investment frenzy. Ever since the scooter business began to appear in San Francisco in March, venture capitalists &#821

1; many of them regret that they lack previous transport investments like Uber Technologies Inc. – have rushed into space and quickly pushed up their valuables.

Bird Tours Inc. and competitor Lime win every million dollar worth of $ 1 billion faster than any other US launch in history, according to the PitchBook data provider. Together, they are working to raise hundreds of millions of dollars more to much higher values, according to people familiar with fundraising discussions.

The aim is that electric scooters, which users rent for an average of $ 3 to $ 4 a driving will be quickly popular and will replace walking or driving for short trips.

Risks are high and many venture capitalists have called companies a lot overvalued.

 Bird scooter in Detroit.

Bird scooter in Detroit.


Photo:

Adrienne Roberts / Wall Street Journal

Bird and Lime in September said they had completed a total of 10 million rides each, accounting for approximately $ 30 million revenue, a weak sum for Lime and Bird’s $ 1.1 billion and $ 2 billion worth, respectively. Cities have been bigger than both scooter companies and their investors had expected, they have said. Some major cities have limited the number of scooters allowed to hundreds or the low thousands.

Ford’s move to the scooter industry comes as the company is under pressure from investors to show that it can increase profits and lower costs while preparing for a future where the car industry can look very different than it does today.

The automaker’s profitability, once among the strongest in the industry, has forgotten behind American rivals in recent quarters

General Motors
Co.

and

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles

NV. Ford aims to reduce $ 25.5 billion in cumulative costs in 2022 and has said it will trim its officials in the next few months, which is expected to lead to redundancies.

Still, Ford executives say it must continue investing in new Transport Ventures that can help develop beyond its traditional operations in building and selling cars.

Ford has been among the most active car companies in rolling out these new services. Its offers now include a bus, called Chariot, which operates in a number of American cities and Go-Ride, a company that transports nonferential medical patients to their meetings.

Marcy Klevorn, chief of Ford’s mobility service industry, said the company needed a service that would help people travel less than 3 miles through the bustling city streets.

“Scooters really help people get around the crowded center and campus” Klevorn said in an interview.

Despite opposition from some cities, Klevorn said local officials are interested in electric scooters as a means of reducing congestion and offer a relatively affordable alternative for lower income homes.

Ford was attracted to Spin in part because it worked well with local officials by seeking permission to start service and share data, she said.

Ford believes partnership with cities in this brave new mobility environment, and not bringing things to them, she said.

Ford introduced Spin scooters in Detroit, where scooters driven by rivals Bird and Lime have popped up in recent months. E-scooters have been scattered about the entrance to GM’s headquarters in the heart of the motor city and elsewhere in the city center.

GM, whose leaders have said they believe in “an all-electric future,” said last week, launched an electric bike brand and released photos of a prototype.

Mercedes-Benz parent

Daimler
AG

has cut out a separate mobility company that includes a ridiculous service and other smartphone-based apps to move people around. The German car maker last month said it was planning an electric scooter pilot in southern Europe.

Write to Mike Colias at [email protected] and Eliot Brown at [email protected]

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