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Ford launches FordPass Connect Down Under

New FordPass Connect app/embedded modem to slot into all new Ford models by Q2 2021

16 Jul 2020

FORD Australia is beginning to roll out its advanced new FordPass Connect embedded modem, with the Ranger ute, Everest large SUV and Transit van the first to score the new connectivity features from this month.


In essence, the Blue Oval brand will fit its entire line-up with the new cloud-based modem that can remotely link owners with their vehicles via the FordPass app, which can be downloaded from the Apple App Store and Google Play Store as of today.


From the app, owners will be able to perform a range of actions remotely, such as starting and stopping the vehicle (automatic models only), locking and unlocking, locating the vehicle when parked, receiving live traffic updates and monitoring the vehicle’s ‘health’ in areas like tyre pressures, fluid levels and service intervals.


According to Ford, the idea behind the FordPass Connect system was to create a ‘connected car’ experience and put “the power of ownership into the palm of your hand”.


Customers will also be able to book logbook servicing online, access warranty details and owner manuals, roadside assistance contact numbers and general troubleshooting.


The modem itself is fitted with an internet-compatible and global-roaming SIM card linked to all three mobile carriers in Australia – Telstra, Optus and Vodafone – while in New Zealand it is linked with Spark and Vodafone.


“As a result of that, the quality of the signal strength is always going to be at its maximum because it’s always going to pick up the strongest signal at the time,” said Ford Australia mobility and connectivity manager Christine Wagner.


Presenting the new system to journalists at a media event this week, Ms Wagner said the Ranger, Everest and Transit were chosen as the first vehicles to be fitted with the new system due to the integral nature of technology in their owners’ lives.


“You only have to look at the average Ranger customer to understand how integral technology is to their lives, how important it is to have technology that works and they are very engaged in all aspect of the products that we offer,” she said.


“In that context, offering this technology to them and making them among the first customers to access it is a deliberate strategy, it’s where we get to learn a great deal very quickly as to if this technology makes a difference for them, whether it’s in work context, whether it’s in a recreational context.”


To prevent the modem from draining the battery, modem-equipped vehicles will be fitted with a ‘deep sleep’ function which disconnects the vehicle from the cloud after 14 days of inactivity.


Ford Australia connectivity user experience lead Chris Clarke conceded that the modem does require a degree of battery power, but emphasised that other measures have been put in place to minimise charge depletion before the deep sleep function is activated.


“If the vehicle is sat there overnight and you go to the app and you want to check some details, it will wake the modem up in the vehicle, it will refresh that feed and provide you with that current data, but it’s not continuously pinging data backwards and forwards while the vehicle is asleep and you’re asleep inside the house,” he said.


The modem will come as a standard feature on all Ford vehicles by early 2021, and will be covered by Ford’s five-year factory warranty. 


It is unable to be retrofitted, meaning the modem-equipped Ranger, Everest and Transit hitting showrooms this month will be sold alongside other non-connected vehicles already in showrooms.


The same applies for other models in the Ford Australia line-up, including the recently launched Focus range.


This does not, however, mean owners of existing models cannot take advantage of the FordPass app, with several key features available including dealer locating, online service booking and access to their vehicle’s recent service history.


In terms of security, the Blue Oval is adamant that the system is hacker-proof, with the only possible way for someone to gain unauthorised access being through an incorrect master reset process during a secondhand vehicle purchase.


Ford Australia and New Zealand president and CEO Kay Hart said FordPass Connect was another way the brand is “bringing smart, simple-to-use real-world technology into the hands of Ford owners and their families”.

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