As part of its push for increased connectivity in its vehicles, Ford on Wednesday announced that it is dropping FordPass SmartLink, an OBD II plug-in device that will enable those with 2010-17 model-year Ford vehicles to access 4G LTE Wi-Fi and a litany of additional features.
“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.”
The FordPass SmartLink is expected to be widely available at Ford dealerships from mid-2018, with open enrollment getting underway today. In addition to installation costs, the device will cost $16.99 a month for 24 months, which includes telematics services that will enable key fob, vehicle location, and vehicle health functions through the FordPass app.
The device will also allow vehicles to connect smartphones and other devices to a Verizon 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot. Data packages will carry additional charges, but the purchase of a FordPass SmartLink will include a complimentary trial that covers 30 days of data up to 1 gigabyte, whichever comes first. FordPass SmartLink services can also be added to a pre-existing Verizon customer’s account.
“Having reliable Wi-Fi on the go is no longer just ‘nice to have’ – it’s become a ‘must-have,’ and Ford recognizes that,” said Susan Heystee, senior vice president, worldwide OEM business at Verizon Connect. “Streaming music and podcasts in the front seat or keeping kids entertained on their mobile devices in the back is now as easy as turning on FordPass SmartLink’s Verizon 4G LTE hotspot.”
Ford last week revealed that it intends to offer connectivity in 100% of new vehicles sold in the United States by 2019.