Ford Sharing Driving Data With Allstate, Plans Loyalty Credit Card

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky

Adhering to the latest industry trends, Ford has made a deal with insurer Allstate to share customer driving data and plans to issue a loyalty credit card tied into its rewards program. While the latter is in the service of retaining customers (with the help of Visa) in the second quarter of this year, the insurance partnership is technically already active. The Blue Oval is by no means the only automaker involved in such programs.

Like other automakers, Ford has already partnered with insurance companies in regional programs aimed at assessing how customers drive, using the collected information to adjust policies. Originally, this involved devices installed with the customer’s consent that transmitted telemetric data back to home base. Later versions were able to use on-board systems in conjunction with a downloadable app. Now, with connected cars becoming the norm, Allstate says it can just get the information directly from vehicles via manufacturer data centers.

Reporting from Bloomberg indicates that most Ford and Lincoln models manufactured moving forward will contain embedded modems that will sync directly with Allstate’s Milewise program. While largely dependent upon the installation of an external device beneath the steering column, the company says that won’t be necessary in the future. Framed as a way to help drivers who don’t cover a lot of ground save money, Milewise actually tracks miles driven, vehicle speed, time of day, specific driving events (like sudden braking) and location.

While we’d like to assume that information is behind handled responsibly, the company is already testing a program that allows clients to see how driving habits affect a personalized price. We’re relatively certain it will receive pushback in relation to the California Consumer Privacy Act — a bit of legislation that’s already complicating the industry’s push into data-driven businesses.

There’s also the consumer advocacy groups and right-to-repair organizations popping up around the country, focused on limiting the amount of influence an automaker has on a car after purchase — and who has access to the data amassed while driving. Allstate was recently named “One of the World’s Most Ethical Companies” by Ethisphere (a for-profit company we’ve never heard of). It’s doubtful that accolade means they’ll give you a pass the next time your data profile is flagged for exceeding the posted speed limit or you stop short to avoid crushing a dog. That hardly seems profitable.

“Connected vehicles have the potential to deliver new benefits to Ford customers, including the ability to help lower their insurance premiums,” Kari Novatney, COO of the automaker’s FordPass mobile program, explained.

Ginger Purgatorio, Allstate’s senior vice president of product management, said the agreement with Ford will offer drivers “the ability to control and customize their auto insurance policy like never before.”

Ford’s credit card is a bit more straightforward. Tied to the FordPass Rewards system, using it supposedly allows cardholders to earn 5 percent back on certain Ford transactions, plus another 5 percent via the rewards program. Purchases relating to gasoline, parking expenses, repairs, auto insurance and dining out yield 1 percent back on all other purchases. Interest is set at zero for the first six months on all transactions surpassing $499 at Ford/Lincoln shops, according to dealer info acquired by Automotive News. There is no dealer participation fee and Ford’s retailers are expected to earn a $65 sign-up bonus for each person enrolled and approved.

Ford declined to comment about the plan.

From Automotive News:

The card is the latest effort by the automaker to boost customer loyalty and retention. The company in late 2018 tapped Elena Ford, a great-great-granddaughter of Henry Ford, to become its chief customer experience officer, and in 2019 rolled out the points-based FordPass Rewards program.

Competitors including General Motors and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles have similar credit card offerings. Ford introduced a card for business owners in 2000 and offers a Quick Lane credit card, although it’s unclear whether that will continue when the new card is launched.

[Image: Ford Motor Co.]

Matt Posky
Matt Posky

A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.

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  • Jkross22 Jkross22 on Mar 04, 2020

    Hey Ford, how much are you paying customers who reside in California for their info? I'll cheerfully sell you my info - $500/month.

  • SirRaoulDuke SirRaoulDuke on Mar 04, 2020

    F this S. We need comprehensive data privacy laws yesterday.

  • 1995 SC How bout those steel tariffs. Wonder if everyone falls into the same camp with respect to supporting/opposing them as they did on the auto tariffs a few weeks ago. Doubt it. Wonder Why that would be?
  • Lorenzo Nice going! They eliminated the "5" numbers on the speedometer so they could get it to read up to 180 mph. The speed limit is 65? You have to guess one quarter of the needle distance between 60 and 80. Virtually every state has 55, 65, and 75 mph speed limits, not to mention urban areas where 25, 35, and 45 mph limits are common. All that guesswork to display a maximum speed the driver will never reach.
  • Norman Stansfield Automation will make this irrelevant.
  • Lorenzo Motor sports is dead. It was killed by greed.
  • Ravenuer Sorry, I just don't like the new Corvettes. But then I'm an old guy, so get off my lawn!😆