Ford plans to launch 33 million vehicles capable of over-the-air upgrades

By: Ajay Pal Singh
Ajay Pal Singh
Ajay worked at Tata Motors in project planning before discovering his passion for stocks. Today, he lives in Canada… read more.
on May 13, 2021
  • Ford will roll out 33 million vehicles by 2028 with remote upgrades capabilities.
  • The company will be able to collect massive amounts of data which can be monetized.
  • Remote upgrades have the potential to save billions of dollars in recall and warranty costs.

Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F) announced its plans to roll out 33 million vehicles by 2028 with the technology for remote upgrades. 

Shares of the company are up 35% on a year-to-date basis versus 11% for the S&P 500 index over the same period.

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Importance of the remote upgrades

The ability for remote or over-the-air (OTA) upgrades opens up potential new revenue streams for the company as it will be able to collect data on consumers and commercial customers who own millions of Ford vehicles based on the new technology. Ford is calling its new over-the-air update capability “Power-Up”.

“We believe that data is the new oil,” said Alex Purdy, Director of Business Operations, Enterprise Connectivity at Ford. “It enables us to have an always-on relationship with our customer.”

Ford CEO Jim Farley has also been talking about the data analytics enabled applications especially for the commercial customers of the company, which could open doors in billions of dollars in new revenues.

The technology also has the potential to save billions of dollars in recall and warranty costs. According to the company, an OTA update to the F-150 truck for a battery drainage issue saved the company over $20 million.

Other automakers have also been taking steps for rolling out vehicles with the technology to enable significant remote upgrades. Tesla, however, has been an early mover in this space, and has been pushing over-the-air upgrades to its fleets for many years now.

Ford’s near term plans

The soon-to-be launched Bronco SUV will have OTA capabilities.

The company also plans to remotely update the F-150 and Mach-E later this year to enable a hands free driving assist system, which will be called “Active Drive Assist”. 

Then there are plans to include Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant in the vehicles through an OTA update and add a a drawing pad and kid-friendly games for the touchscreen of the Mach-E remotely.

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