This year’s North American International Auto Show featured lots of debuts from automakers, including Ford. They showed off the 2017 Ford Fusion and a new Raptor SuperCrew, but their biggest news wasn’t even a vehicle. It was something called FordPass.
It’s part of Ford’s strategy to be more than solely a car company. They also want to be what they’re calling a mobility company. FordPass will let them connect Ford with its customers in a new way to provide services anytime they’re on the go, even if they’re not behind the wheel of a Ford.
They are partnering with companies like ParkWhiz to help drivers find parking spaces and pay for that parking in advance through Ford Pay, which lets you pay with your smartphone. There’s also FlightCar to let consumers share and borrow vehicles.
The partnerships go further with McDonald’s and 7-Eleven on board, too. Using FordPass at these locations will let you earn rewards that include free merchandise and special experiences. Instead of having to carry frequent customer cards in your wallet, FordPass can manage it for you. These partnerships are only the first few with more expected to roll out as the service grows.
Special FordHubs will open in New York, London, Shanghai, and San Francisco providing a place for all things Ford. These aren’t dealerships. They’re locations where consumers can learn about Ford’s products and services with FordGuides on hand to help people understand what FordPass offers.
These FordGuides will also be accessible at the touch of a button to provide whatever assistance you need on the go. Think of them as your personal assistants, ready to share their expertise and help whenever you need them. There’s no fee associated with the service, unlike some concierge services that require monthly subscriptions.
There’s something else unique about FordPass compared to other services like OnStar. You don’t have to buy a Ford to use it. It’s completely free whether you drive a Ford or one of their competing vehicles. It sounds almost crazy, but it makes perfect sense when you look at the intent.
It’s not about getting people into Ford vehicles, although that’s a nice side effect, but about getting Ford into a new area of our lives. It’s about mobility and that means mobility for everyone, not just the guy driving an F-150.
The service is set to launch this April so it’s not some pie-in-the-sky concept that we won’t see for years. It’s ready to go and will be available to everyone by the time the snow melts.