Ford to buy San Fran­cisco-area e-scooter startup

Viet Nam News - - FRONT PAGE -

DETROIT — Ford Mo­tor Co said Thurs­day it will join the mush­room­ing mi­cro-mo­bil­ity move­ment with the ac­qui­si­tion of twoyear-old Spin, an elec­tric scooter rental firm based in San Fran­cisco.

The No 2 US au­tomaker, one of the first to en­ter the sec­tor, will in­vest about US$200 mil­lion in Spin, ac­cord­ing to a source fa­mil­iar with the ac­qui­si­tion.

The pur­chase price is dwarfed by in­vest­ments in – and val­u­a­tions awarded to – Lime and Bird, the US mar­ket lead­ers in a sec­tor that only started to ac­cel­er­ate about eight months ago.

Lime, based in San Ma­teo, Cal­i­for­nia, was founded in 2017 and has drawn more than $450 mil­lion in fund­ing, at a val­u­a­tion of more than $4 bil­lion. Its in­vestors in­clude ride ser­vices gi­ant Uber and Google’s par­ent Al­pha­bet.

Bird, based in Santa Mon­ica, also was launched in 2017. It has at­tracted $400 mil­lion in in­vest­ments and is val­ued at $2 bil­lion.

In an in­ter­view, Marcy Klevorn, pres­i­dent of Ford’s mo­bil­ity unit, said the ac­qui­si­tion of

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Af­ter launch­ing in the Bay Area, e-scoot­ers are be­gin­ning to roll out in many big cities across the United States.

Ford plans to ex­pand Spin over the next 18 months, from 32 mar­kets to more than 100 in North Amer­ica, ac­cord­ing to Sun­deep Madra, head of the au­tomaker’s Ford X startup in­cu­ba­tor.

Klevorn said e-scoot­ers com­ple­ment Ford’s prod­uct port­fo­lio, in­clud­ing the full-size Fseries pickup that gen­er­ates the lion’s share of Ford’s profit.

“Our over­all strat­egy is to pro­vide cus­tomers with a choice, whether it’s buy or lease (a ve­hi­cle) or pay by use,” Klevorn said. “We’re try­ing to adapt to where the mar­ket is go­ing – and scoot­ers com­ple­ment that.”

Spin will be a wholly owned Ford sub­sidiary, op­er­at­ing out of San Fran­cisco.

Last week, Gen­eral Mo­tors Co said it planned to in­tro­duce a pair of elec­tric bi­cy­cles in 2019 but so far has not said whether it plans to en­ter the es­cooter busi­ness. — REUTERS

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