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Ford eyes on-demand car washes, in-vehicle Amazon delivery

DETROIT — Ford Motor Co. plans to offer on-demand car washes and in-vehicle package delivery as it expands the utility of its FordPass smartphone app.

The automaker Tuesday said owners of 2017 model or newer Fords and 2018 or newer Lincolns with built-in modems can access the services. Ford is partnering with Amazon on package delivery and with startups Sparkl, Spiffy and Rub A Dub for car washes.

Lorin Kennedy, the automaker’s FordPass ecosystem business leader, said the announcement is the first of what the company hopes will be a number of third-party deals as more of its vehicles are connected with built-in modems.

“We’re seeing an increase of customers that are looking for convenience,” Kennedy told Automotive News. “We think services like this will be of interest to our customers.”

Ford is the third automaker to partner with Amazon on in-vehicle delivery, following similar announcements last year by General Motors and Volvo.

Customers with an Amazon Prime account can download the Key by Amazon app, sync it with their FordPass or Lincoln Way account and select the vehicle delivery option when placing an order with Amazon.

Packages can be delivered to a location registered by the customer, where someone from Amazon will unlock the vehicle, put the package inside and lock it again. If a vehicle cannot be accessed, the delivery will be made to the building where it is parked.

Car washes
Ford is also allowing customers to schedule car washes through FordPass. All three companies let users pick a time and place for a wash, detailing or interior cleaning, and a van with a technician will show up to perform the service.

Sparkl will be available to FordPass users in Chicago starting Tuesday, Ford said, while Spiffy and Rub A Dub will be available in other cities this year. Spiffy offers services in Atlanta, Los Angeles, Dallas and Raleigh-Durham and Charlotte, N.C., as well as to fleet customers in Denver, New York, Seattle and Washington.

Rub A Dub will be available in Washington; McLean, Va.; Rockville, Md.; and Naples, Fla.

App expansion
Ford has been trying to expand the FordPass service since it launched in late 2016.

The automaker has launched a FordPass Rewards customer loyalty program on the app but has yet to release details. Officials this year said virtually all of Ford’s 3,100 U.S. dealers have signed up for the points-based rewards program.