The significance of today’s announcement regarding the coming “FordPass” mobility platform can hardly be overstated. With one significant new product suite, Ford is getting a jump on realizing its goal of becoming an auto and mobility company, by providing several of the key components mentioned at last month’s Smart Mobility background event.
Surprisingly, the forthcoming FordPass mobility platform came about somewhat by accident.
Ms. Elena Ford is Ford Motor Company’s Vice President of Global Dealer and Consumer Experience. Last April, she was engaged in a several hour-long session interacting with customers, with a goal of evaluating and improving Ford’s dealer experience, when the mission suddenly transformed into something entirely larger: how to deliver easier commuting for customers everywhere. The session stretched on for no less than 72 hours, and at the end, Elena Ford and colleagues had the basic outline for what would become FordPass – although then, it was referred to simply as “The Big Idea.”
“It was really competitive, with people moving between rooms trying to determine what owners, ride-sharers and general commuters would want out of a world-class customer experience,” said Ms. Ford. To draft the initial plan for FordPass, Ford and colleagues considered an ideal “day in the life of” a FordPass service user. The team eventually decided that a consumer ought to be able to perform each of the following:
- Use FordPass to remotely start their car in the morning
- Locate and pay for parking in advance with FordPay
- Redeem “Appreciation” reward points at partner locations (McDonald’s, 7-Eleven)
- Use FordPay to pay Ford Credit bills
- Contact a FordGuide for information about where to find a FordHub
- Use FordPass to call for roadside assistance
From these core ideas, FordPass was developed over the course of about 18 months – “a record amount of time,” says Elena Ford. The FordPass mobile app is scheduled to launch this April, with initial FordHub locations set to open in four major cities around the globe.