The short interest in Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F), the second most shorted stock on the New York Stock Exchange, dropped 9 million shares to 152.3 million for the period that ended on August 31. Ford’s recent prospects have not been very good, but its shares are up 2% in the past month.
Ford’s recent press to impress Wall Street does not seem like much — yet another self-driving car. Monday, Ford announced:
… its intent to have a high-volume, fully autonomous SAE level 4-capable vehicle in commercial operation in 2021 in a ride-hailing or ride-sharing service.
To get there, the company is investing in or collaborating with four startups to enhance its autonomous vehicle development, doubling its Silicon Valley team and more than doubling its Palo Alto campus.
What major car company does not already have similar plans announced? Mark Fields, Ford’s president and chief executive, thinks his approach is the best one, like all other car company CEOs:
The next decade will be defined by automation of the automobile, and we see autonomous vehicles as having as significant an impact on society as Ford’s moving assembly line did 100 years ago. We’re dedicated to putting on the road an autonomous vehicle that can improve safety and solve social and environmental challenges for millions of people – not just those who can afford luxury vehicles.
For the present, Fields cannot dodge the fact the Ford sales in the United States were shaky through the first eight months of the year, up only 1.4% to 1,773,849.
Perhaps short sellers think more of Ford’s future than its present.