American automaker Ford has announced that its FordPass digital assistant has become free for all users.
Thus, the company decided to abandon the practice of trial subscriptions to services and make most of the most requested features of the application free.
Previously, all features of a vehicle connected to FordPass Connect were only available with a paid subscription. Ford was testing the possibility of giving customers up to five years of use of the application when buying a car, after which the service was provided on a commercial basis. Now, under the new rules of the program, anyone whose car supports FordPass Connect can start the engine, open the car doors or schedule the next service.
At the same time, certain functions integrated into the Ford digital assistant remained available only by subscription. In particular, the free use of the application does not allow you to create a Wi-Fi hotspot, since it requires an LTE connection. For Ford's main competitors, this service is also paid: for example, GM provides a hotspot for up to $15 per month, and Toyota for $8, providing a 3-month trial subscription. So the free FordPass service doesn't add much savings to users, but it's still good enough to keep the car for a few years after purchase.
For automotive giant forgoing the extra revenue from a subscription still means being able to sell more vehicles with high-end features that include the free use of FordPass Connect. At the same time, the company understands that customers are gradually moving away from paid services, getting the opportunity to drive a car using free smartphone applications. Thus, charging for a digital assistant starts to feel redundant.
The FordPass app was officially unveiled at the beginning of 2016 at the Detroit Auto Show. As conceived by the creators, the service combines a digital platform, a mobile assistant and a customer interaction service. The application includes several services: Marketplace (search for parking, carsharing and rental cars, or registration for maintenance), FordGuides (live assistant on the road with voice support), Appreciation (loyalty program) and FordHubs centers (access to Ford innovations) .