“New car debuts always grab the most media attention at auto shows. But, at the 2016 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Ford took advantage of a captive audience to announce future plans far beyond just cars and trucks.”

And like many other brands, it’s all about adapting to the “mobile” lifestyle, offering on-demand content and services to customers – through their smartphones.

FordPass is one way they’ll try it out. With a free membership subscription, users can get real time traffic and weather updates and route guidance from a Ford representative - whether traveling by car or on foot. They can also research and book parking for events.

Those who own Ford vehicles will be able to access their in-car infotainment systems through their devices, and remotely access features, start the engine, check fuel and oil levels, and even schedule maintenance appointments.

Going forward, they hope to incorporate ride sharing services into FordPass, allowing members to share their vehicles with other members for an agreed upon fee.

Multimodal transportation will be a focus, as well, factoring in local bus and train schedules into route guidance.

Not long ago, Ford briefed journalists on an experimental bike program, offering customers access to two-wheeled transportation options, aimed at urban dwellers. 

Thinking of a future where fewer people rely on the traditional ways of getting around, Ford is trying to get ahead of the game, offering many of the app services that are beginning to gain traction, all in one place.  

“It’s never easy to see what the “next big thing” will be, but one thing’s for sure---the automotive industry is seeing more “change” than ever before.

And that’s it for this week’s MotorNews.”