Ford has extended its online business tools with the unveiling of FORDLiive, a new service available free of charge to all Ford connected commercial vehicle operators.
Ford claims that FORDLiive promises to radically change the way that customers run and maintain their vehicles. The system is expected to reduce the number of breakdowns, meaning fewer visits to dealer workshops and is expected to result in quicker servicing and repair times. For vehicles maintained in the Ford Transit Centre network, the company believes that downtime could be reduced by as much as 60%.
The new system will connect Ford’s LCV customers, the Transit Centre network and Ford itself. A FORDLiive centre will be based at the company’s Dunton offices in the UK to cover the UK and the Republic of Ireland. Other centres will be opened at Valencia in Spain to cover Spain, France, Italy and Portugal and at Cologne in Germany to cover Austria, Germany and Switzerland. The system can only be used by a connected Ford vehicle from the Ranger or Transit ranges. Currently there are around 500,000 connected Ford LCVs in Europe and Ford expects this to increase to over one million by mid-2022.
Small businesses will be able to access the system through the FordPass Pro app, enabling them to operate up to five vehicles on the FORDLiive system, while larger fleets will use a dedicated version of the Ford Telematics tool. FORDLiive will be integrated into the Ford Telematics tool for Ford Telematics customers, while a dedicated version just focused on vehicle health information will be available free of charge later in the year.
“Our purpose is clearly is to make our customers businesses thrive,” Hans Schep, general manager, Commercial Vehicles, Ford of Europe told Van Fleet World. “It’s all about our customers, it’s not about us. As leaders of the commercial vehicle industry in Europe, we’ve set ourselves a task of striving to offer 100% uptime to our customers. We’re not there, but that’s clearly our ambition.”
The European rollout of the system will begin with the UK and Ireland with the aim of leading to 80 per cent of customers being covered by dedicated uptime centres by the end of the year. Ford will add other services to the system after it has been launched.
“It’s about how can we unlock the power of that connected vehicle data to provide smart maintenance,” Owen Gregory, director, commercial vehicles in the Ford customer service division at Ford of Europe, told Van Fleet World. Information available to customers will include vehicle status information including AdBlue level, when servicing is needed and in plenty of time for the work to be scheduled. It will also give clear information about any warning message or light that is shown in the vehicle.
“The other power of FORDLiive is about using that same connected vehicle data and making it available to our Transit Centre dealers,” says Gregory. Dealers will be able to see the same information and also a 60-day history, enabling the dealer to see how the vehicle performance has changed over the past 60 days. This will provide the dealer with a broad set of information to help decide what work may be needed and what parts would be needed.
“The final piece of the puzzle is that we are adding dedicated teams into our FORDLiive centres, who are there with a real-time connectivity link to all our Transit Centre workshops who are our eyes and ears, or on the lookout for where we can support to accelerate getting a vehicle back on the road,” explains Gregory. These teams will be able to use virtual reality headsets to see what service technicians in dealerships can see on vehicles to help diagnose more complex issues.
Hans Schep stressed the importance of FORDLiive: “It’s a really big deal for us – we consider this to be our biggest product launch this year.”