Ford Motor Co. has named Don Butler, a former vice president of global strategy for Cadillac, to lead a newly created group to manage vehicle connectivity across the entire company, the Dearborn-based automaker announced today.
In the new position as executive director of connected vehicle and services, Butler is responsible for Ford’s global integrated connectivity vision and strategy. Butler led strategy and business development for GM’s OnStar division and also served as vice president for telematics startup INRIX.
“Not only does Don understand the connected car landscape, but probably just as important, he understands customer expectations,” says Raj Nair, Ford’s group vice president of global product development.
Ford officials say the new organizational alignment builds upon Ford’s goal of using connectivity and digital to transform the ownership experience, and to shape the foundation for future mobility initiatives.
“(Ford Sync) launched a sort of connectivity arms race in the industry,” says Jim Farley, executive vice president of global marketing, sales and service. “The opportunity is much bigger than just in-car technology — it’s now about connecting the vehicle to a larger ecosystem leveraging ‘the Internet of things.’ We are creating a seamless and immersive experience for customers that begins with their first visit to our digital sites and continues throughout their ownership experience.”
In related news, Ford announced today that the Ford Sync AppLink will be available on 3.4 million more vehicles — model year 2010 and newer — later this year. The free upgrade enables current Ford owners to access and control smartphone apps via voice command. More than 1 million vehicles equipped with Sync AppLink are on the road today