Dearborn announces ‘FordPass’ as a customer service free-for-all, and you don't even need to be a Ford owner to benefit
FORD says its transition from an automotive company into a "an auto and mobility company” begins in April with the launch of FordPass, a multi-tiered customer experience program that Ford hopes will change how people engage with the brand. And you won’t need to own a Ford to benefit from it.
“A lot of people keep talking about how the auto industry is going to be disrupted by the tech companies. Our approach is we're going to disrupt ourselves,” said Ford CEO Mark Fields. “[FordPass is] a reimagining of the relationship between Ford and the consumer, and membership is free whether you own a Ford vehicle or not,” said Fields. “All you will have to do is register online.”
And it won't just be limited to Ford owners. The company says everybody will be able to take advantage of services like FordGuides, a personal concierge to help you navigate, to find services, and locate parking spots, all for free.
Ford chairman Bill Ford and CEO Mark Fields co-announced the bold new plan at the 2016 Detroit motor show, likening its revolutionary potential to the way Henry Ford revolutionised personal transport back in the early 1900s.
“My great-great grandfather changed the way the world moved with the Model T, in very fundamental ways. We have the same opportunity now in a very different era with very different challenges in front of us. We are on the cusp of a series of revolutions which will enable this to happen. The powertrain itself has been disrupted. The way people access vehicles is being disrupted. And of course we have autonomous driving coming too, so the opportunities we have in front of us are very different to what my great grandfather faced. But the notion of providing mobility to people around the world... that’s not new to us.
Benefits of FordPass currently include Marketplace where customers can locate, reserve and pay for parking spots ahead of time, or book in their next service; FordGuides, where call centre operators will assist customers with tasks like navigation and finding parking facilities, and; Appreciation, where partner brands like 7-Eleven and McDonald’s will offer specials to FordPass members.
In addition, Ford plans to open a number of Apple Store-type shops called FordHubs, where the public can explore Ford's latest innovations and services. The first one will open in New York later this year, with more planned for San Francisco, London and Shanghai.
Ford's chairman and great grandson of Henry Ford, Bill Ford, defined FordPass as “making people's lives better”, and said what was announced today was just the beginning.
"Like other platforms, FordPass will continuously grow and evolve ... No one company can do this by itself. It will require partnerships between existing and new companies, start-ups and more."
Ford Asia Pacific spokesperson Sinead Phipps said it's too early to say when or if FordPass will be launched in Australia. She did confirm that China would be the first Asia Pacific country to get FordPass, later this year.
"There are a lot of steps to take before we can set up FordPass in a new country. We need to make partnerships, establish the support infrastructure and more."