With the announcement that Ford’s “Smart Mobility” initiative would be spun off into its own business entity – Ford Smart Mobility, LLC – any doubt that the automaker aimed for something less than a full-force attempt to break into the transportation industry was nullified.
One of the key players in helping to bring Smart Mobility into being was Elena Ford – Vice President of Global Dealer and Consumer Experience, and great-granddaughter of Henry Ford. ABC News had a chance to speak with Ms. Ford earlier in the month about FordPass, which is a forthcoming mobility app and customer experience that represents the first concrete product to come from the Smart Mobility initiative.
With FordPass planned to encompass services such as car sharing and shuttle services, Ford Motor Company is steadfast in its belief that the traditional car ownership model is changing fast. Despite this, Ms. Ford says: “I think people will definitely own vehicles. I think they will own them and use them but they may use them in a different way. I think what is really important is transportation as a service, which is much bigger than the transportation of today, will be an opportunity for people.”
But even before FordPass implements such such 21st century services, the app benefits Ford owners in a number of ways. “There are three main pain points customers have,” said Elena Ford. “Buying makes them anxious, financing stresses them out and then when they go for service they don’t like that either. So, how can we take those four and a half hours a year people have [with] those pain points and make them better?”
As for how FordPass and Smart Mobility mesh with the automaker’s traditional core business, Ms. Elena Ford says: “I think [Henry Ford] would really be happy we are being forward thinking and we are really continuously re-inventing ourselves. We are reimagining the whole customer experience just the way we reimagined transportation back then really took it to a whole new level.
“That is what we want to do now, so I think he would be very proud.”