And today we’re happy to announce that during the next five years we’re tripling our engineering investment in driver assist and semi autonomous vehicle technology and accelerating development and availability for our customers. This includes some new features like Traffic Jam Assist and Fully Active Park Assist. Traffic Jam Assist can relieve driver stress and enhance comfort by helping control of the acceleration, the braking and the steering during slow moving and stop-and-go traffic.
Fully Active Parking Assist will help drivers automatically pull into a parking spot by controlling the steering, the shifting and braking at the touch of a button. And we’ll introduce both of these features and more during the next three years. And again as we do this we promise that these technologies will be available on our highest volume products, delivering on our commitment as a company to serve millions of people and not just for those who can buy luxury vehicles.
So let’s turn to Data and Analytics, another important area. One of the ways that we’re learning about what customers will want and need in future mobility is by working actually with game developers. Last August we launched the Ford Smart Mobility Game Challenge at Gamescom in Cologne, Germany. We encouraged developers to create fun and engaging games that tackle the challenge of integrating different transport modes within a city. And we’ve been literally overwhelmed by the ideas that have come in and we’ll announce the winner here at the Mobile World Congress later this week.
Now as we make this transition to an auto and mobility company, there’s another very important part of our strategy and that’s about transforming the customer experience. This is influencing every part of our business from our core business of cars, SUVs and trucks to emerging opportunities and all of our Ford Smart Mobility work. And the opportunity here is literally huge.
Now traditionally we’ve dedicated most of our energy and for that matter of money to attracting new customers about a year before they actually buy a vehicle. And then we pretty much don’t engage them until their next purchase.
Well that’s about to change. Think about this: The average Ford owner spends about 900 hours a year inside of his or her car yet in that same year they spend on average only four and a half hours in our dealerships or interacting with our brand. And we absolutely know we need to engage customers differently going forward.
So during the past 18 months we’ve had a small group working secretly with customers and actually studying other companies that have transformed their customer experience focus. Companies like Nespresso and the clubs they create, or Rip Curl with wearables to actually recreate the surfing experience, and Nike with its digital ecosystem. We’ve also been working with anthropologists and sociologists and digital experts studying what consumers want even before they can express it. And the result is FordPass. Take a look.
So FordPass reimagines the entire customer experience and aims to do for the auto industry what iTunes did for the music industry. And think about FordPass as a digital, physical and personal mobility experience platform that includes four main parts: a Marketplace of mobility solutions, FordGuides who are always there to help, Appreciation where members are rewarded for their loyalty, and FordHubs where customers can experience our latest innovations. And we’re introducing FordPass in the UK and Germany and France later this year. Importantly anyone can become a member for free whether you own a Ford or not. Just by registering online. And like other platforms, FordPass will continuously grow and evolve and improve each year.
And today we’re pleased to share details of our first offerings here in Europe starting with marketplace. We’re announcing a new partnership with Mobile City for parking. We’re also announcing that in Germany — Europe’s largest car sharing market – that we’re strengthening our partnership with the car sharing company Flinkster.
The second element of FordPass is FordGuides. These are real people who provide real-time mobility solutions, 24/7, including reserving and paying for your parking ahead of time. And the guides are available free of charge and their only job is to serve, guide and solve and not to sell.
Moving on to Appreciation. We’re partnering with McDonald’s and 7-Eleven to provide FordPass members access to merchandise and unique experiences as rewards for parking, interacting with one of our Guides or paying for vehicle service at one of our dealerships. And today we’re announcing a new FordPass partner – BP.
So think about this, imagine a future where FordPass directs you to stop by a BP station near you because it knows that you’re running low on fuel and imagine that you never have to pull out your wallet when you fill up at a BP station. Because as a FordPass member you can fuel and pay for your gas through FordPass, while at the same time earning appreciation points that can later be redeemed for fuel or drink or some food. And we’re not just imagining this. These are the kind of opportunities that we’re pursuing with our partners for FordPass members.
And, finally, the Hubs. We are launching four Hubs around the world, including one in London. Now inside a Hub, you’ll be able to explore Ford’s latest innovations, learn about our mobility solutions and experience exclusive events. So from a customer standpoint great experiences like those that will be delivering with FordPass lead to long-term relationships. And from a business standpoint, well, it’ll drive greater loyalty, it’ll bring new customers into Ford and also accelerate Ford in becoming a serious player in mobility services.