People involved said both sides developed a friendly relationship with no bad blood from five years ago, when talks went south after Ford reportedly wanted more of a high-profile partnership than the quiet, technical tie-up Google desired.
Also at issue in the previous talks: who controls the data.
This time around, Ford has said that Google will not have access to customer data, but Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas said Ford is likely to share key vehicle data that’s not customer-specific.
“There’s been changes on both sides of this equation,” Sam Abuel-samid, principal research analyst at Guidehouse Insights, told Automotive News.
“In the past, carmakers were much more reluctant to partner with tech companies on something like this because they didn’t want to give up control of the data. What’s happened is both sides have come together and compromised a bit.”
Ford said Google’s technology can help it spot defects in manufacturing processes, improve supply chain logistics, alert customers when their vehicle needs service or offer trade-in alerts, for example.
Customers will get access to Google’s voice assistant and navigation system within all new vehicles globally, except in China, starting in 2023. Ford says customers can continue to use Apple CarPlay, Amazon Alexa and other operating systems by connecting their own devices.
Farley said the company has more than 100,000 subscribers to its commercial telematics business and could continue to grow that.