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05/27/2016

Mobile Tech and the Automotive Industry

 

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More an American institution than a mere brand, Ford is joining the mobile revolution with the launch of a new app. What’s interesting about it is that it has nothing to do with operating or securing their product - not directly anyway. 

The 120-year-old company has taken a commendably modern approach to the app, which is not so much about promoting their cars as promoting the whole concept of mobility, whether by public transportation, ride-sharing services, bicycles or car (Ford or otherwise).

The FordPass app claims to offer a ‘marketplace for mobility solutions.’ It’s a bold move. The automotive giant is accepting and taking advantage of changing attitudes to motor travel. Car ownership for every person or family in America was an aspiration largely created and marketed by Ford themselves. But it’s no longer inevitable that each individual will even desire their own vehicle, with many people choosing to forgo it altogether.

Vehicle sharing, whether in the form of companies like Lyft and Uber, or community-based car pool systems, is part of the ecologically-aware zeitgeist, especially among younger people. By embracing this changing culture and reaching out, not just to non-Ford owners but to those with no car at all, the company hopes to own the conversation - or at least part of it - surrounding the ethical, environmental and health ramifications of one car, one person.

Ok, ok, but what does it do? Well, the app has a lot going for it. Like many multi-purpose apps, the best way of getting to grips with it is to download it yourself and have a play around. The central feature, ‘My Vehicles’ allows drivers to upload information about their cars, trucks and motorbikes, such as model details and how many miles are on the clock. 

The loyalty program allows users to accrue points when they buy a Ford vehicle, fill up on gas or schedule a parking space using the app. In addition, the app functions as a key capable of starting the engine and remotely locking and unlocking your car (though perhaps not in that order) - a feature only usable on recent models.

Other features include parking assistance, which allows you to geo-locate your vehicle in large parking lots.

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