Ford launches ambitious FordPass product as element in its strategic transformation to mobility company
At the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS), Ford announced FordPass—an ambitious new customer service product that incorporates software services and apps, human agents and storefronts—intended to support the company’s strategic transformation into an auto and a mobility company. With FordPass, Ford says it aims to do for car owners what iTunes did for music fans, especially in terms of reimaging the relationship between automaker and consumer.
FordPass, which officially launches in April, offers free membership, regardless of whether or not the user is a current Ford customer. (Ford is hoping that by extending its services to non-customers, it can enlarge its pool of potential buyers.) Benefits include a Marketplace offering mobility services, some of which Ford has been helping to develop through its Smart Mobility initiatives over the past few years; FordGuides, who will provide over-the-phone or face-to-face assistance on mobility issues or questions; Appreciation, for membership loyalty; and FordHubs, where members can go to experience the company’s latest innovations.
Ford always has been motivated to make people’s lives better. We did it when we put the world on wheels a century ago and we do it now through our strong lineup of cars, SUVs, trucks and electrified vehicles. Today, we take our commitment one step further with the introduction of FordPass—an all-new platform that may be our most revolutionary yet.
As we’ve studied the mobility challenges people face, we designed FordPass to help provide services that make consumers’ lives easier. FordPass is really about listening to people’s needs and developing ways to help them move better.—Mark Fields, Ford president and CEO
Marketplace. All members will have access to mobility services through FordPass Marketplace. Ford is working with ParkWhiz and Parkopedia to help people find and pay for parking more easily, and with FlightCar to borrow and share vehicles when they travel. In the future, services will include ride sharing, car sharing, multimodal transportation and more.
Members can pay for these services through FordPay: a virtual wallet.
Ford owners can easily connect with their preferred dealer to schedule maintenance and service appointments or to review their Ford Credit vehicle finance account details.
Members who own Ford vehicles equipped with SYNC Connect can use FordPass to access vehicle features such as remote start; lock and unlock; fuel, oil and battery charge levels; tire pressure readings; and to locate their vehicle.
Ford intends to keep expanding the maretplace with additional services, said Beth Donovan, Global Marketing Operations Manager and a member of the FordPass team.FordGuides. FordPass members can speak directly to trusted and knowledgeable FordGuides at the touch of a button. For example, if a member decides he would like to book advance parking for an upcoming show but is unsure how to reserve it, one push of a button on his smartphone lands him in a live chat with a FordGuide who will lead him through the options and help to reserve parking.
The guides will be available free of charge. Their only job is to guide, serve and help solve mobility challenge—not to sell. The guides will also be able to provide advice on optimal transportation modes within a city, said Donovan; for example, whether a traveler from out of town should rent a car, use car sharing, or take mass transit.
Appreciation. Members will be rewarded for doing simple things, such as registering to become a member, booking parking, or interacting with FordGuides. By collaborating with affinity partners McDonald’s, 7-Eleven and others, FordPass can recognize members with access to merchandise and unique experiences.
We’re engaging with our customers—and our potential customers—aiming to make every interaction with the Ford brand a positive experience. We want consumers to know how much we appreciate them, and with FordPass, we’re taking loyalty a step further.—Elena Ford, Ford vice president, Global Dealer and Consumer Experience
FordHubs. FordPass also includes the opening of FordHubs, where consumers will be able to explore the company’s latest innovations, learn about its mobility services and experience exclusive events.
The first of these urban storefronts opens later this year at Westfield World Trade Center in New York, followed by FordHubs in San Francisco, London and Shanghai.
On-site FordGuides will help guests understand mobility options available in their cities, explore solutions for their mobility needs, view a real-time mobility map of their city, and experience special events, including new vehicle reveals.
FordPass launches this spring in the United States and Canada, followed by other markets including Europe, China and Brazil later this year. FordPass capability is activated through smartphones. Consumers can sign up for more information and updates at MyFordPass.com.
Ford has not yet released figures on its envisioned monetary investment in FordPass or on what is required in terms of a supporting data, communications and applications infrastructure.