By on January 19, 2022

Ford

Ford has teamed up with the payment company Stripe in a five-year deal to leverage what they’re calling “automotive e-commerce and payments”. According to marketers in the Glass House, this arrangement will help facilitate transactions for vehicle services and products such as EV charging.

And if you think it couldn’t lead to subscription services for features we currently take for granted in vehicles today, we have some seaside property in Montana to sell you.

Anyone who has ever toiled in a revenue-driven industry will tell you that monthly recurring charges are the gold standard for profitability. In most instances, MRC rolls in without too much effort after the initial sale and tends to be very lucrative. If car companies can worm their way into our wallets in the same way services such as satellite radio have managed to do while withdrawing a monthly fee for a feature, you can bet they will be jumping all over themselves to do so.

Some brands have already dabbled in this tempestuous sea. Recall that bedwetting accountants at BMW floated the idea of making heated seats a subscription-based service, an idea that died a quick death after public backlash. Ford isn’t there yet, but a tie-up with Stripe certainly sets the table for this type of activity should the company choose to go that route at some point in the future.

For now, Ford says it’s all part of the Ford+ plan, a strategy described by the company as an effort to generate deep loyalty and always-on customer relationships. At an event last May, head honcho Jim Farley related how the company would deploy Ford+ as part of its effort to break away from the build-and-sell business model which has typified the car racket since its inception a century ago.

Ford has also inked an agreement with ADT, a company commonly associated with home security, with eyes on leveraging vehicle camera technology as another arrow in the quiver of surveillance general security. Planned to be called Canopy, the system calls for “multi-sensor security systems” designed for rigs like the F-150 pickup truck and Transit van. Ford and ADT say the gear will be easily installable by customers to protect expensive work and recreational equipment.

As for the payment system, the rollout of Stripe technology is expected to begin in the second half of 2022, starting on this continent.

[Image: Ford]

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25 Comments on “What’s in Your Wallet? If Ford Has its Way, It’ll be a Blue Oval...”


  • avatar
    Eliyahu

    Duh…are you suggesting a monthly payment for ongoing vehicle security? What a great way to ease the customers into the water.

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    I will not be surprised when all car companies have systems like Tesla’s Sentry Mode.
    And when they also charge a monthly subscription for it, I will be even less surprised.

  • avatar
    mcs

    “And if you think it couldn’t lead to subscription services for features we currently take for granted in vehicles today,”

    Your vehicle has detected another vehicle in the process of backing into your vehicle. You are attempting to sound your horn, however the Ford dealer you have purchased your vehicle from has determined that this is critical time period in which to sound your horn thereby justifying an additional charge of $20 as you agreed to when signing onto your vehicle this morning. Do you agree to this additional charge?

    • 0 avatar
      Lynchenstein

      Screw that, that’s what insurance is for. And if Geico wants to pay for the Ford security shakedown, go for it.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      @mcs:

      Funny story, but seriously…let’s say a manufacturer tries willy-nilly shutting off features that came with the car as part of the MSRP. That’s going to ROYALLY p*ss customers off. In the case of a horn, that’s a safety issue. That’s why the manufacturers won’t do this.

      Now, let’s say the feature in question is a monthly subscription, and the seller clearly marks it as such…then, yeah, if the customer doesn’t pay, then it gets shut off. But that’s already been disclosed to the customer, and it wouldn’t be a safety system. Buyer beware.

      The “heated seats” example is often used, but you know what? If I could get away with paying for them only when I’m using them, I’d consider a monthly hit versus an up front fee, depending on the numbers. Let’s say it was a $100 “always on” option up front, or a $5/month monthly subscription. My car’s leased for three years, and I only use the heated seats three or four months out of the year, so that’s $20/year, or $60 for the term of the lease, versus $100 up front. Not that I’d be that skinflint about it, but I think you see the point.

  • avatar
    golden2husky

    The most important thing is to have what happened to BMW with the seat warmers happen to any manufacturer who goes down this road. We as consumers must not purchase any products where this monthly recurring money swindling is required. But we all need to say FU to the manufactures collectively. Otherwise, this model will roll out across the board and we will all be screwed by big business (yet again).

    The power is in our hands – tell them loud an clear that we will not accept this and buy from a company that does not do this. Once all makers collude and roll this trash out together we lose our ability to fight it.

  • avatar
    Mike Beranek

    Meanwhile, I’ve teamed up with my brain in a lifetime deal to leverage what I’m calling “common sense” to facilitate my money not flying out the window.

  • avatar
    Matt Posky

    Convenience is not handing over information so a company can track you, lock you into subscriptions, and bombard you with offers over the phone. It’s handing someone paper money for services rendered and then being left alone.

    Nothing makes me madder than this. I’m pretty sure I only got into DIY because I was tired of every single business using my number/email to send me messages 4,000 times per day and trying to upsell me.

  • avatar
    Bill Wade

    Ordered a new Challenger last month. Hopefully it will actually be built. I believe it still has the old QNX software uConnect and not the new Android based system in the rest of their line which will do who knows what for security and surveillance.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Goshy gee…how evil that a company wants to sell me stuff after I bought something from them. And how evil that the company actually has subscription based services. Add Internet connections to that and it’s Triple Secret Evil.

    Example: I just bought a brand new VW, which comes with Internet connectivity. I can even interact with the car via an app on my phone.

    (Cue ominous music)

    Sure enough, VW came calling not long after I took deliver and wanted me to buy in-car wifi through Verizon. They gave me a one-month trial subscription, and when that was done, after careful consideration, I clicked the “no” button on the app. Haven’t heard from VW or Verizon about this since. Maybe I’m not paying attention.

    But that wasn’t the end of VW’s Unconscionable Intrusion Into My Sanity. They wanted to sell me insurance based on my driving style. All I had to do was have the app track my driving habits. After careful consideration, and a full-speed, nannies-disabled run down Riverdale Road, I clicked the “don’t track me” button. Amazingly enough, neither VW nor Liberty Mutual has chided for my “Baby Driver” driving style. Again, maybe I’m not paying attention. Maybe an extra layer of tinfoil on my baseball cap would help the transmissions.

    As a result of all this, all that app does for me now is show me where my car is when I park it, and by clicking a button, I can make sure the doors are locked. If I want to troll people walking down the street, I can honk the horn at them (which freaked my kids out, by the way). Big Brother lives!

    (OPT OUT, PEOPLE…it ain’t rocket science)

    • 0 avatar
      Irvingklaws

      Depends on how it’s implemented. When this can/does go evil is when the ‘automatically opted in’ strategy is applied in combination with a maddeningly complicated/difficult process for opting out. eg. Last software update changed your security choices/selections defaulting to opt you into ‘vehicle tracking’ or such. You agreed to all when you checked ‘yes’ to allow the update, without scrolling through and comprehending the eleventy-zillion lines of corporate double speak below. Please call 1-800-non-uman to wait on hold perpetually, eventually reach what appears to be resolution, only to discover nothing has changed on your next bill, then repeat with exactly the same result. Happens all the time…

  • avatar
    redapple

    Get them while you can.
    392 or bigger preferably.

    I m not a BEV kind of man.

  • avatar
    DAC17

    Why does anyone care about this ridiculous way to strip money out of peoples’ pockets for unnecessary crap? Our country has just gotten more stupid by the day. I apologize in advance for telling the truth.

    • 0 avatar
      sgeffe

      Wrong post, but I seriously wonder how many people drive off a dealership lot and don’t actually realize that they will actually have to fork over money every month, and how quickly the repo man comes a-calling afterwards?

      Not that I’ve lost complete faith in humanity, but I sometimes think that if a large percentage of the people in this country could, to paraphrase Jackie Gleason as Sheriff Buford T. Justice in the “Smokey and the Bandit” movies, get up in the morning, tie their shoes and use the bathroom, their parents ought not be proud, but amazed!

  • avatar
    Funky D

    “Ford says it’s all part of the Ford+ plan, a strategy described by the company as an effort to generate deep loyalty and always-on customer relationships.”

    Sooooooo, I’m guessing that building deep loyalty by selling quality durable vehicles people actually want at reasonable prices is not longer a goal?

  • avatar
    stuki

    “..a strategy described by the company as an effort to generate deep loyalty and always-on customer relationships. ..”

    The mere fact that financialization provides people (anti)thinking like this with access to the reins of once great American industrial companies, is what a large part of the “once” stems from….

    Build better cars for better prices, dimbulb. And if you can’t contribute, narrowly, to doing exactly that, go find something less destructive to do with yourself.

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