Ford looks to future with new app, stores

DETROIT: Ford Motor Co. wants relationships with customers that go beyond car purchases as it anticipates industry changes like car-sharing.

So it's creating FordPass. For now, it's an app that can help drivers reserve a parking space and pay for it ahead of time, or contact specially trained guides to get them through traffic or find a restaurant. Members can also redeem rewards at places like McDonald's.

In the future, the program could expand to facilitate car-sharing or ride-hailing services, or autonomously summon a parked Ford.

The company is also opening stores in several major cities, including New York and Shanghai, where people can learn about Ford technology and configure a car.

Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford says Ford needs to experiment and not just watch from the sidelines as new ideas about transportation transform the industry. "We're in a very fluid world now."