SmartLink Adds Modern Connected Technology To Older Ford Vehicles
Ford’s SmartLink technology comes with a 4G LTE modem on board, letting it act as a Wi-Fi hotspot for up to 8 devices in the vehicle. It also permits remote start, lock and unlock functions, and can send alerts to a car owner via a companion web and mobile app to let them check on car healthy, and get alerts related to security and service requirements. Brett Wheatley, Executive Director of Ford’s Customer Service Division stated, “We’ve seen the huge interest that we’ve had in SYNC, and now in the modems that we have in our vehicles, and we just talked to a lot of customers and they’re very happy with their current vehicles, but they obviously wanted to have some of the latest connectivity features, too.” said Brett Wheatley, Executive Director of Ford’s Customer Service Division. “We’ve been doing research for many years on it and we just wanted to make sure that we had the right product that would meet all of our security requirements.”
Wheatley said that in the course of creating SmartLink and looking at customer feedback, they also discovered that users wanted different things from a connected car, with some seeking security via theft alerts, others looking for more insight into maintenance issues, and others just wanting ways to offer connectivity for their family devices on the road. SmartLink is a way to address the most frequent requests in terms of connectivity use cases for people who own Ford vehicle. SmartLink is now undergoing pilot trials at a few dealers in the United States, and will be available publicly in the U.S. through dealerships this summer, with final pricing to be announced at that time. SmartLink is definitely an opportunity for dealers, since it gives them a way to potentially enjoy a more profitable post-purchase relationship with clients.
Wheatley stated, “We think it’s a great opportunity for our dealers to stay connected after the time of purchase, to make sure that they’re in regular contact with that customer, keeping their vehicle in great working condition.” Wheatley was asked whether SmartLink might support third-party apps and services eventually, as Ford has done with SYNC 3 in its newer models. He said, “We’ve definitely done that in our new vehicles, so I think that is an opportunity for down the road, to see how we could give the customers in those older vehicles all the great technology that’s in our new vehicles, and all the connectivity features and benefits they have.”