Ford Motor Co. F -5.99% is carving out its autonomous-vehicle program into a separate wholly owned company, a bid to accelerate its driverless-car efforts by attracting outside investors.
Ford said Tuesday that the newly formed unit, Ford Autonomous Vehicles LLC, will be structured to take on third-party investment. The setup will allow large investors to bet on a part of Ford’s business that has high growth potential but likely will be a financial drain in the near term, without taking a stake in the slower-growth business of making traditional cars.
The move follows rival General Motors Co.’s GM -2.39% disclosure last month that Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp. 9984 1.42% would invest $2.2 billion in GM Cruise , the auto giant’s driverless-car business. That deal—which gave SoftBank a 19.6% stake in GM Cruise, valuing the company at $11.5 billion—allows GM to pursue a driverless-car strategy without siphoning as much capital away from its core vehicle-manufacturing business. […]