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June 28, 2021

Ford expands commercial vehicle remote diagnostics to Europe

By Graeme Roberts

Ford today expanded its connected uptime system to European fleet operators with the introduction of Ford Telematics Essentials – a complimentary new fleet management tool designed to help increase the productivity of connected commercial vehicles.

Delivered by Ford Pro – Ford’s new global vehicle services and distribution business for commercial and government customers – FORDLiive is a key pillar of the automaker’s always-on relationship with customers to help enhance their fleet operations.

The new service delivers Smart Maintenance alerts based on real-time vehicle health data which help businesses to maximise uptime by reducing the number of breakdowns and achieving quicker servicing and repair times.

Harnessing connected vehicle data from the fleet, it also links businesses to the support available from the Transit Centre network through Smart Diagnostics so that the productivity of each individual vehicle can be optimised.

Available for fleets in France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK, Ford Telematics Essentials supports higher productivity via an easy-to-use web-based interface which displays key details and maintenance alerts as well as each vehicle’s current health status to help managers plan more effectively and maximise vehicle utilisation.

“Introducing Ford Telematics Essentials is a major milestone in the delivery of our FORDLiive service and will help fleet customers maximise their productivity at no extra cost,” said Owen Gregory, director, commercial vehicle aftersales, Ford of Europe. “Having instant visibility of the health of every connected vehicle is a real game-changer, and promises to transform how businesses run and maintain their fleets.”

Essential fleet management alerts

Ford Telematics Essentials is a dedicated fleet vehicle health management tool that presents usage-based Smart Maintenance alerts to fleet operators via detailed, easy-to-read dashboards. Real-time data is received automatically from vehicles once the onboard modem is enabled; the feature has been standard on the core commercial vehicle range since mid-2019.

Fleet managers can view a summary of their entire fleet and receive key information for each individual vehicle. An overview shows how many of each model customers currently are operating in their fleet and the current connectivity status of every vehicle. Other displays show individual vehicles’ mileage, oil life and engine hours, helping fleet operators to proactively schedule preventative maintenance and eliminate the costs and unplanned downtime of avoidable breakdowns and repairs.

Smart Maintenance alerts clearly display any required actions for fleet managers, who can immediately click through to service scheduling at a convenient time for their business. The display divides fleets by statuses including “Up to Date”, “Action Soon”, “Action Now”, “Overdue” and “Off the Road” for maximum clarity on current vehicle availability.

The system integrates seamlessly with connected commercial vehicles to offer comprehensive information that only a manufacturer-built system can. The software can recognise and securely share more than 4,000 Vehicle Health Alerts and descriptions to help fleet managers and dealers deliver the fastest, most effective corrective action.

When permissions have been provided by the fleet customer, Transit Service dealers will be able to see connected vehicles’ health information from the past 60 days, helping them diagnose issues before the vehicle arrives in the workshop and to prepare the correct technical and parts support for optimum turnaround times.

In more complex cases, dedicated uptime experts in Ford entres with access to real-time data will fast-track the required support to get customers’ vehicles back on the road as soon as possible.

The automaker’s confidence in remote diagnosis has resulted in the 30-minute annual inspection requirement being removed from Transit, Transit Custom and Ranger models from later this year, helping to reduce fleets’ costs and downtime.

Customers in France, Germany, Italy, Spain or the UK with connected vehicles can access Ford Telematics Essentials via a contact form on the automaker’s commercial vehicles website.

Fleet operators can also choose additional services for a monthly subscription cost.

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