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Ford launches attack on LCV downtime

Ford has announced a new connected vehicle system designed to maximise vehicle uptime, with the company describing the system as being able to “transform the way Ford customers run and maintain their vehicles” by using smart maintenance to reduce the number of breakdown, dealer visits and time taken to repair.

Called FordLiive, the use of real-time data to proactively address issues before they occur is claimed to have the potential to cut vehicle downtime by 60%, and is available free of charge on any Ford light commercial fitted with the connected vehicle tech, which already number 500,000 across Europe, a figure that will double in the next 12 months across the brand’s entire light commercial line-up. The system is accessed via the FordPass Pro app for smaller fleets and the Ford Telematics tool for larger operations.

“This will transform he way in which customers run and maintain vehicles,” said Ford’s director of commercial vehicle aftersales Owen Gregory.

Described as “the most important announcement you will hear on Ford commercial vehicles this year”, which illustrates the programme’s importance to Ford as it recently announced that the Teansit Customer will go electric from 2023, FordLiive is the beginning of Ford’s stated goal of getting its vehicles to 100% uptime.

“Productivity is key to running a successful business,” said Ford of Europe general manager, commercial vehicles, Hans Schep. “Downtime is the third highest cost of running vehicles, and commercial vehicles are the lifeblood of keeping businesses working. Vehicle breakdown is the worst thing that can happen to their business.”

Ford claimed that acting on notifications could reduce roadside callouts by 30%, and the company said improved transparency of data will allow the bundling of servicing and maintenance into the same dealer visit to reduce time spent in workshops.

“Our Transit Centre partners are excited to be using real-time data to be proactive, not reactive,” said Schep. “FordLiive will evolve and grow and we won’t stop until we reach 100% vehicle uptime.”

Using smart diagnostics, including a 60-day history of the vehicle, Ford’s service centres will be able to diagnose vehicle issues, have replacement parts ready and ensure the correct technician is available before the vehicle arrives. Transit centres will also be able to use enhanced reality headsets to “teleport” experts from the UK and Ireland FordLiive centre in Essex to diagnose difficult problems.

Ford has specifically said it will be sensitive about the use of data, and the company “does not plan to use connected vehicle data to check the validity of warranty claims”. The company said that the data belongs to the customer and will only be accessed by Ford to provide a service to the customer.

“We want to be clear, the purpose of using the data is to support customers on their uptime journey, it’s a laser focus,” said Gregory.

FordLiive has kicked off on commercial vehicles, but would have the potential to migrate cross to the car line-up in the future.

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