The car marque will use the spring launch of the sports utility vehicle (SUV) Ford EcoSport to debut its Sync Applink service – which will let drivers access their smartphone apps via the vehicle’s entertainment system – in the UK as it seeks to position itself as a market-leading brand in adoption of technology in the automotive sector.
Ford’s sponsorship of the T3 Awards, which takes place early next month, is aimed at “establishing our name in the tech sector”, according to Anthony Ireson, Ford’s UK marketing director.
Sync AppLink lets mobile users access compatible apps they have downloaded to their phones via a voice-activated control mechanism while in their vehicles.
The manufacturer unveiled the latest series of apps available via the service, initially only compatible with Android and iOS phones, at last week’s Frankfurt Motor Show in Germany, with brands such as Hotels.com joining music-streaming Spotify site as high-profile participants in the scheme.
In addition it also hopes to encourage other app developers to port their portfolios to the service using a l software development kit (SDK) that works equally well in the prevailing mobile ecosystems – Apple iOS.
“The marketing message [to consumers and developers] will be that ‘you’ll be able to bring the life you already have on your phone into your car’,” adds Ireson.
Speaking with Marketing Week, Ireson also said Ford’s messaging would also not neglect more mature audiences, which he forecasts will constitute a significant proportion of the Applink user base.
“Very few young people buy new vehicles these days, and we know that older people use apps just like younger ones,” he says. “They may not download as many apps as younger people but still use them none-the-less.”
Meanwhile, Ford is also drumming up demand for the service by letting its Facebook fans order limited edition Ford EcoSports models via the social network