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Ford CEO Mark Fields says 'dynamics get very funky' in talks with Google and Uber

Partnerships require a "cultural fit."

Ford CEO Mark Fields didn't explicitly explain why partnership talks with Google and Uber fell through. But he did say that "cultural fit" was a crucial aspect of any acquisition or partnership talks at Ford.

Fields was asked about these potential linkups Tuesday at Recode's third annual Code Conference.

"What we want from anybody that we partner with is: One, that there is an equal amount of benefit that each company can bring to the party," Fields told onstage interviewers Kara Swisher and Peter Kafka in response to their questions about why Ford didn't end up partnering with Google or Uber.

"The dynamics get very funky very quickly if somebody thinks they're getting screwed," Fields said. "And two: Cultural fit, because you’re going to be working with these folks. Beyond what the spreadsheet says, you’ve got to make sure there's a cultural fit."

Without revealing too much, Fields said the company "talks to everybody" about potential partnerships or acquisitions.

"There will be news coming out over the next months and years about this," Fields said. "As we talk with a lot of different partners, it's again about that cultural fit and really trying to solve something."

Asked whether we have seen "peak car" ahead of a decline of growth in his industry, Fields said he was still bullish on the core business of selling and manufacturing cars, but added that the company recognizes that it needs to "up their game" in delivering advanced technologies.

"We ask ourselves three questions," he said regarding which technologies Ford chooses to explore. "Where do we want to play? [Then] we have to be really honest with ourselves and ask, how do we win? Is there a business model in there for us to make money? What are the capabilities we need? In some cases, we’ll have the capabilities in house; in some cases; there are other companies [that do it well]."

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