The power of mobile platforms: Facebook and GoogleMobile devices are significantly reshaping every part of the automotive landscape - from marketing and shopping to the in-vehicle experience. "We need to learn to think the way our customers already do - they come first, they are in control," Farley said. "Most of us recognize that mobile is a power enabler for customers, putting them in control of the shopping process and changing their expectations around connectivity."
As nearly one in seven people worldwide now uses a smartphone, this has significant influence on the auto industry.
Doug Frisbie, Facebook head of Automotive Vertical Marketing, joined the keynote, explaining that successful businesses in every industry - from automakers to software companies - put people at the center.
"Cars were a step change in giving society the ability to stay connected and engaged with the people they cared about," he said. "The opportunity at hand today is not about phones or social software in cars - but about remembering that no matter the device, it's the ability to connect that matters."
Brendan Kraham, Google director of Global Mobile Sales and Product Strategy, joined the discussion as well, adding that the in-car mobile experience will soon be integrated into all the devices that connect a consumer's life.
"Automobiles will soon become a seamless part of the consumer mobile experience," he said. "Actually it will enhance the experience. When your dash becomes a seamlessly connected screen, it truly becomes a more important, integrated part of your life."
Fuel economy reigns Perhaps the greatest cross-demographic shift since the recession is the growing consumer focus on fuel economy. Now the top consideration for vehicle purchases, fuel economy interest has resulted in a flood of claims and data that are starting to overwhelm the market.
"We now have a torrent of 'best-in-class' claims hitting consumers from all sides, and it's starting to become noise," Farley said. "We are seeing more and more confusion as consumers try to make informed decisions. Given the connectivity in our cars and the proliferation of mobile devices, we have the opportunity to give consumers better and more relevant data to understand what they can expect in on-the-road fuel economy performance."
Harnessing the power of mobile platforms, Farley announced developers will have access to Ford's OpenXC connectivity research platform as a sandbox to create and test innovative ideas in the newly announced $50,000 Personalized Fuel Efficiency App Challenge.
Many elements factor into personalized fuel efficiency including temperature, terrain, traffic conditions and individual driving styles. The goal of the challenge is to enable drivers to optimize their efficiency on the road and then share that information with others.
"We need to help customers understand the concept of personal fuel economy - based on their own individualized experiences - and give them tools to see, learn and act upon all the information available to know what to expect, how to improve, and even offer guidance in their shopping process," Farley added.
About Ford Motor CompanyFord Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents. With about 171,000 employees and 65 plants worldwide, the company's automotive brands include Ford and Lincoln. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford and its products worldwide, please visit http://corporate.ford.com.
Ford Motor Company
Web site: http://www.ford.com/
Company News On-Call: http://www.prnewswire.com/comp/107607.html
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