Ford Credit is to play an “increasingly significant role” in its parent group’s strategy, Ford Motor Company has stated.

On top of regular car finance, the credit division will also focus on opportunities in the mobility business, particularly in the vehicle sharing and smart car segments.

Ford chief executive officer, Jim Hackett said: “We are clearly focused on delivering smart vehicles, connected to a smart transportation operating system, and have begun building out several of our new business models.”

Hackett is in the UK to formally open Ford’s smart mobility division’s offices.

Interviewed by The Daily Telegraph on Sunday, he said that the industry was “behind expectations” when it came to connected mobility and electric vehicles (EVs).

However, he said that “once cars are connected, our software will lead the industry and as customers get digital services, that is an advantage for Ford.”

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He added: “There is not a provider of EVs that is profiting from them without support from government or whatever. The reason is the cost of the technology is too high for what customers will pay. You can’t really charge them the cost of the system today but I’m optimistic about its role.”

Emphasising Ford Credit’s increasing importance, its chief executive, Joy Falotico, will now report directly to Hackett, from January 1 2018, instead of chief financial officer Bob Shanks.

Hackett himself was appointed to his current position in May, having led Ford’s mobility team, shortly after Tesla overtook Ford by market value.

Aside from the Ford Credit move, Ford also announced a number of other senior leadership moves.

For the group’s overall operations, Lisa Drake has been named vice president for global purchasing operations. At Ford of Europe, meanwhile, Dale Wishnousky has become vice president for manufacturing, while Birgit Behrendt has taken the role of vice president for joint ventures, alliances and commercial affairs.

As in Falotico’s case, all appointments will be effective January 1, 2018.