Speaking at Mobile World Congress today, Ford president and chief executive Mark Fields, said “Ford aims to do for the auto industry what iTunes did for the music industry”.
Fields’ bold statement was part of a slate of announcements from the automotive giant that cemented its ambitions to transform into a technology company, as well as a car maker.
Ford revealed a new Kuga SUV and announced that its SYNC 3 connectivity technology would expand into Europe this year. Ford also said would expand Ford Smart Mobility, using the keynote to assert the businesses intention to ‘leader in connectivity, mobility, autonomous vehicles, customer experience, and data and analytics’.
“As we look to the future, it is clear we are on the cusp of a revolution in mobility, from car sharing to autonomous driving to the customer experience,” Fields said.
Fields also discussed its FordPass system, a platform that aggregates partners that builds on the driver's experience. As well as launching this year in Europe, Ford announced new partners for FordPass including BP and Mobile City, a mobile parking payment company. FordPass also will integrate Ford Carsharing, run with Germany’s Flinkster car sharing service.
The partnership with BP is particularly significant because it earmarks the potential for commercial tie-ups for auto brands.
According to Ford, in the future, FordPass may let members search for nearby BP locations based on facilities available. Ford and BP want to eventually get to a point where they can help members to fill up at the right time and in the right place. According to the announcement, “this might for example include members remaining comfortable inside a vehicle and not stand outside in the cold or the heat, while a robot does the refuelling”.
Currently, the partnership with BP will reward members with exclusive offers and geolocation services. Ford loyalty partners already include McDonalds and 7-Eleven.