In the US, Ford Motor Company’s FordPass mobile app and customer experience was announced at the 2016 Detroit North American International Auto Show. FordPass will offer users one-touch access to key mobility services such as car sharing and advance parking, alongside features geared more directly toward Ford owners, like the ability to schedule dealer service appointments via the app, or to control certain features remotely on a SYNC Connect-equipped Ford vehicle.
FordPass is also going to Europe later this year, reports automotiveIT, and according to Ford Europe VP of Marketing, Sales & Service Roelant de Waard, it’s “one of the most important things happening this year.” With its mix of features for both Ford owners and brand outsiders, “it’s a tool with a lot of functionality,” he says.
But FordPass might also present a serious challenge to the automaker as it attempts to navigate hot-button questions relating to the privacy of consumer data. Mr. de Waard told automotiveIT that consumers are rightly concerned about the privacy of their data, as today, they are asked to provide more of it than ever. However, he said that automakers and other companies can provide a stronger sense of security by clearly communicating its intentions.
“It’s often not particularly transparent to the customer what you can do with the data,” said Mr. de Waard. “If you give the customer the feeling that you’re spying on him, that’s a negative. But if you anticipate something they didn’t think of themselves, they are often very grateful.”
According to automotiveIT, the automaker sees connectivity and its family of EcoBoost engines as two of the main things that will drive future sales growth. “But the bigger question is what you will do with that connectivity,” the Ford Europe VP said. He predicts that car-to-car communication, which allows vehicles to communicate with each other to help avoid collisions or broadcast the location of available parking, will be one of the most important connectivity developments. “And it will go very quickly.”