Ford is telling everyone who will listen that it wants to be a “mobility company” as well as a car company, and FordPass is a major part of that initiative. Unveiled at the 2016 Detroit Auto Show in January, it’s a system for coordinating mobility-related services that Ford believes will transform how it interacts with customers.
Part of the FordPass plan involves partnerships with other companies, and the latest to jump on board is Spotify. Ford already offers a Spotify app as part of the Sync AppLink suite on its infotainment systems, but now the music-streaming service will also participate in FordPass in some vaguely-defined way. It joins McDonald’s, 7-Eleven, and BP on the list of partner companies.
These companies will be part of an “Appreciation” program that rewards consumers for using FordPass. Members can accumulate points by doing things like signing up for the service, booking parking through it, or interacting with one of the FordGuides that act as concierges. This gives members access to “merchandise and unique experiences” provided by the partner companies, Ford says.
This will be just one aspect of FordPass. The program, which launches in April and will be open to non-Ford owners, will also include a “Marketplace” of mobility services, like parking reservations. Ford is already working with ParkWhiz and Parkopedia to integrate parking services, and with FlightCar to allow members to borrow and share vehicles. All of these services can be paid for with FordPay, Ford’s own virtual wallet.
Ride sharing, car sharing, and multimodal transportation will be integrated with FordPass in the future, Ford says. The company also plans to let owners use FordPass to schedule appointments with dealers, and to review financing details with Ford Credit. All of the FordPass services will be coordinated by FordGuides, who will be available to live chat with customers.
Ford believes concentrating solely on selling cars is a dead end, and FordPass is just one of many programs and experiments it’s conducting to try to branch out. If it works out, FordPass could become a model for other carmakers looking to offer large-scale mobility services. But we’ll have to wait until its April launch to find out.