By Jessica Davies, News Editor

February 26, 2014 | 4 min read

Ford has kicked off the digital campaign for its connected car model EcoSport at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona by making 1,000 cars available exclusively via Facebook ahead of the official rollout in May.

Customers across 11 European countries including the UK, can from today configure and reserve one of the connected car models via the social network. Around 100 cars will be made available per country.

The cars that are made available in the pre-launch sale will also feature two additional connected apps for free - a parking app created by developer Parkopedia, and a voice-controlled personal radio app, which use Ford’s open-source AppLink technology among other mobile apps including Spotify.

The partnership with the two app developers was also revealed in Barcelona today, with Parkopedia providing drivers with the ability to search for 15 million spaces across Europe, while Aupeao’s app will let them voice control their favourite music from more than 200 curated radio stations.

The Facebook sale marks the start of Ford’s ‘EcoSportLive!’ campaign, the digital part of which will launch officially tonight in Barcelona with a free YouTube concert featuring 10 emerging artists including Natalie McCool, Mickael Miro and Nina Zilli.

The event, which will be hosted by TV and radio presenter Sarah-Jane Crawford, will also be broadcast live on Spotify and live streamed through Ford’s European YouTube channel.

The Ford EcoSport SUV is among the first vehicles in Europe to offer AppLink, which already incorporates mobile apps such as Spotify.

Speaking to The Drum at Mobile World Congress Ford’s connected services director for Europe Duncan Burrell, said the car maker is continuously looking to extend and evolve its app ecosystem, and will be rolling out AppLink to all its car models.

He said experiments are already underway to test new forms of mobile apps, particularly around driving behaviour and insurance.

“You get apps now on smartphones that help characterise how you are as a driver. In insurance there was a time a few years ago when you could classify someone by sex and age and various profiles – but in Europe they are not allowed to do that anymore – they have to offer more open policies and not discriminate. So there is a move to behavioural based-type insurance.

“We are not ready to launch anything like that but we are looking into proofs of concept and what we can do around monitoring your behaviour – all consent based. It is stuff we are discussing now for future possibilities.

However, he said for this industry and for smart-car app developers to achieve the volume they need to have a sustainable business model and to combat the fragmentation in the mobile market car makers must work together. “That’s why we have made AppLink open source, so any car maker can use it. We don’t mind if competitors use it because it’s not about the fact that they do it it’s about how well they do it.

“Apple in the beginning wasn’t offering anything hugely different to other smartphone makers but it was the design and experience of it that stood it apart,” he said.

Ford previously revealed plans to loan 100 new Ford EcoSport SUVs for up to six months to music, fashion, food and sport bloggers from Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, and the U.K. The bloggers will test Ford SYNC with AppLink and share their experiences of the car on social media.

Ford Spotify Mobile World Congress

Content created with:

Ford Motor Company Limited

Find out more

More from Ford

View all