Ford's new way to upgrade connected features on older models
Ford customers can soon upgrade the connectivity in their older-model vehicles to include a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot, smartphone control of existing key fob features, vehicle health and security alerts, and vehicle location tracking.
Using a device that plugs into the OBD II port below the steering wheel, Ford's FordPass SmartLink reportedly gives owners of 2010-17 model year Ford vehicles those connectivity features normally available only on newer vehicles equipped with modems.
“Vehicle connectivity has improved at a rapid rate in recent years,” said Frederiek Toney, President, Global, Ford Customer Service Division. “We believe offering an affordable way for our customers to upgrade their older-model vehicles to include more modern technology will improve their ownership experience for years to come.”
FordPass SmartLink is available exclusively through Ford dealerships nationwide starting in mid-2018. The company stated that by 2019, 100% of Ford’s new U.S. vehicles will be built with connectivity.
With more than two years of research and development invested, FordPass SmartLink engineers, in collaboration with Aptiv and Verizon Connect, have worked to make the technology function on 2010-17 Ford vehicles.
“From security to performance, we’ve conducted extensive testing and made a number of improvements to ensure FordPass SmartLink enhances the customer experience for our Ford vehicle owners,” said Don Butler, Executive Director, Connected Vehicle and Services, Ford Motor Company.
FordPass SmartLink customers pay a monthly fee, plus installation, for 24 months to purchase the device and receive telematics services that enable remote key fob, location, and vehicle health features.
To continue use of the Wi-Fi hotspot beyond the initial trial period, customers can add their FordPass SmartLink device to their existing Verizon account or establish a new one.
FordPass SmartLink enrollment is now open to U.S. dealers with national availability expected by mid-2018.