Ford to raise nearly $3 billion in debt to increase tech investments

The company plans to push harder into self-driving cars, ride-sharing, electric cars and mobility.
By Stephen Feller  |  Dec. 5, 2016 at 10:17 PM
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DEARBORN, Mich., Dec. 5 (UPI) -- Ford Motor Co. announced in a regulatory filing Monday it plans to raise nearly $3 billion to increase its push into areas of transportation beyond simply making and selling vehicles.

Investors picked up more than $2 billion worth of 10- and 30-year bonds Monday, which Ford said it will use to bolster efforts in self-driving cars, electric cars and mobility. In total, the company plans to raise $2.8 billion with the debt issuance.

The company said the new areas of focus are essential as more companies pop up with transportation options, from ride-hailing and car-sharing to basic technologies being introduced for cars and trucks.

"Consistent with our recent investor day presentations, we continue to increase our investments in emerging opportunities, primarily in the areas of electrification, autonomy and mobility," the company said in a statement.

In recent months, Ford has bought a van-shuttle service in San Francisco and a stake in the laser-sensor maker Velodyne, which makes parts for autonomous cars, among other smaller and start-up companies, in an effort to compete with Uber, Google and others looking to create the future of transportation.

Ford announced recently it plans to have around 100,000 autonomous vehicles for ride-sharing services on the road that function without a steering wheel or gas and brake pedals by 2021. In 2016, the company had about 30 of the vehicles in testing on the road and plans to increase that number to 90 during 2017.

Ford has also invested $4.5 billion to convert nearly half its vehicle line-up to running on electricity by 2020.

"For us, the world is changing," Mark Fields, CEO at Ford, told Bloomberg. "The transportation that served us well in the last hundred years is not going to serve us very well in the next hundred years. So based on that, that's really forcing, really encouraging us to think differently about the business."

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