Trust me I’m a Carmaker, Says Ford

Ford believes it is leading the pack in a charge towards consumer engagement with in-vehicle services yet remains conscious of the challenges still ahead.

TU-Automotive met with its head of mobility programs, Rich Strader, at the Dearborn headquarters in Michigan to get a clearer idea of how the automaker sees the future of its connected vehicles. Topping the list of challenges is gaining the customer’s trust, said Strader.

He explained: “The first thing is that we believe the ownership of the data belongs to the customer and we have to protect and secure. We only provide access to it with the opt-in consent of the customer, so that creates the trust.

“The second piece of this puzzle is that you have to create value – something the consumer wants to sign up for. We have seen this work through the mobile phone with the use of all the data that people opt into on the phone and the same thing will happen with vehicles.”

Strader stressed that the sharing of data between consumer and carmaker should be of mutual benefit. He said: “With vehicles being connected and the opportunities it presents for developers, for example, to build applications that are targeted to the vehicle owner, whether that’s the end consumer or the fleet provider, that’s one of the biggest opportunities out there in terms of monetization. By providing experiences that benefit the owner.”

He said there are a raft of services and benefits a consumer can enjoy when opting in to a carmaker’s digital ecosystem. Strader concluded: “When are talking about connectivity and the data that it presents from the vehicle, that’s one of the areas that Ford is front and center in terms of taking the lead. We’re talking about everything from getting your car serviced on demand to getting fuel to your car or having shopping delivered to the trunk of your car through Amazon. Experiences like that really drive the ultra-convenience aspect for the owner.”

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in London. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_


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