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In case you haven’t heard, there’s a shift taking place in the automotive industry.

After a century of the car being the center of the American dream, a symbol of individual freedom, automotive manufacturers are facing a new challenge. Car sharing, self-driving cars, and urbanization are just some of the trends paving the way for a new kind of thinking about the car in American culture.

Automakers must now craft an engaging digital customer experience, throughout the entire customer journey, to stay relevant and competitive in today’s changing marketplace, according to professional service firm Ernst & Young.

What used to be a chain — where the customer was at the end — has been replaced by a mobility ecosystem that consists of multiple industries: and the customer is at the center of that ecosystem.

Insurance, tech, media, automotive, and energy are just some of the industries surrounding the customer in the ecosystem.

If automotive makers want to be and stay relevant, they must create a positive experience — one in which the customer is engaged and loyal to the brand.

It’s important for automakers to capture customer sentiment to improve the customer experience in today’s marketplace. And they must connect with customers at an emotional level — by capturing customer sentiment and creating positive experiences — in order to prepare for the future.

Read MORE: Analysis of Online Reviews Reveals What Automotive Buyers Really Want

Ford is Creating an Engaging Experience

It’s no wonder why, in an effort to build relationships with customers, Ford has created a membership program for interactive services called FordPass, which includes a variety of services such as FordGuides, Appreciation, membership loyalty, and FordHubs. These hubs provide consumers with an experience in the future of transportation, according to Ford.

Ford is transforming itself into an auto and mobility company.

The FordPass membership is free to everyone — even consumers who do not own a Ford. FordPass is part of the Ford Smart Mobility plan, which aims to take the company to the next level in customer experience.

“The company announced its Ford Smart Smart Mobility plan to use innovation to take it to the next level in connectivity, mobility, autonomous vehicles, the customer experience and big data,” according to a press release. 

FordHubs, which are smaller than most dealerships in a non-sales environment, is where consumers can receive education about the future of transportation. FordHubs give customers the opportunity to engage and interact with the brand.

Ford recently opened a FordHub at the Westfield World Trade Center in New York. The company plans to open more in Shanghai, San Francisco, and London.

The Future of Automotive

In an interview at the new FordHub with The Street, Elena Ford, vice president, global dealer and consumer experience, said that FordHub is a branded experience where customers can learn and be entertained. 

Ford said that the mobility side of Ford provides solutions for the future.

“First of all, we love our core business that we have today of selling cars, trucks, utilities, certified vehicles, and obviously servicing them,” she said. “But another thing is we want to provide access to the customers of tomorrow with these new mobility solutions. So it’s really we see both sides. Mobility solutions gives shared access to customers so they can have new solutions for areas of congestions and cities can now provide them new solutions.

“We are a transportation company that provides transportation solutions for today and for tomorrow and give people access to what they want on their terms.”

The company created FordPass while studying how companies like TripAdvisor, Nike, and Tesla interact with consumers, Automotive News reported.

(Photo: Ford)

Megan Wenzl

Megan is the Associate Editor for ReviewTrackers. She’s a writer who is committed to finding useful information to help your business succeed. Megan holds an M.A. in journalism from Columbia College Chicago.

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