DETROIT — Ford will launch what it calls a "revolutionary" platform dubbed FordPass in April that's designed to better connect customers with the company and its dealers. The effort, which helps to transform Ford into a "mobility company," debuted at the 2016 Detroit Auto Show.
A FordPass membership is free for Ford vehicle owners and non-owners.
It gives users the ability to reserve parking, pay for transportation costs through their vehicle or phone and earn rewards.
"Ford owners can easily connect with their preferred dealer to schedule maintenance and service appointments or to review their Ford Credit vehicle finance account details," Ford said in a statement on Monday.
FordPass members can also speak directly with a FordGuide for free help in booking advance parking and to "solve mobility challenges — not sell," the company said.
Another key element of FordPass is the opening of FordHubs, urban storefronts where consumers will be able to check out the company's latest technology and learn about its mobility services.
"These aren't places where we're trying to sell something," said Steve Odell, Ford's vice president for global marketing, sales and service. "We want to hear people's thoughts and we want to show them what we're doing to solve the transportation issues of today and tomorrow — and not just in their city, but around the world."
FordGuides and FordHubs can refer shoppers to a dealer.
The first of the FordHubs will open later this year at Westfield World Trade Center in New York, followed by FordHubs in San Francisco, London and Shanghai.
The effort is designed to "do for car owners what iTunes did for music fans," Ford said.
Edmunds says: Ford wants to build a personal relationship with Ford vehicle owners and non-owners. Expect other automakers to come up with similar efforts as the definition of mobility changes.