Mopar fills an important place in Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ relations with customers, and it is growing.
While Mopar has made a name for itself selling performance parts and other accessories, its role as the automaker’s digital conduit to customers is expanding quickly, says Mark Bosanac, head of Mopar Service, Parts & Customer Care for FCA North America.
In June, Mopar launched a new website intending to make it easier for owners to do everything from configuring accessories for their vehicle to ordering parts and even scheduling an appointment at an FCA dealership.
“Customers have become used to shopping online,” Bosanac says, noting Mopar customers now routinely purchase Mopar parts and accessories after configuring them on the new website.
It was developed specifically for the U.S. market and is oriented toward owners who demand the ability to make purchases or find answers to vehicle questions without a phone call or in-store visit, he says.
Bosanac says Mopar’s goal is to provide a helpful and fulfilling ownership experience for FCA customers by putting resources front-and-center.
The redesigned website creates what FCA describes as a virtual online concierge. Owners who register on the Mopar site can access features such as vehicle health reports, online owner’s manuals, remote command options, how-to videos for customers interested in doing maintenance or repairs themselves and Uconnect features, as well as warranty and recall information, he says.
Bosanac says the site has been optimized for the mobile, on-the-go experience, with tile and icon design that delivers easy scroll-through on smartphones and other devices. The site also takes personalization to a new level by prompting new owners to register or existing owners to sign in to fully connect with their vehicles.
Mopar soon will launch Uconnect Market, an in-vehicle commerce platform allowing customers to order food, find the nearest gas station or make dinner reservations, all from their vehicles.
“This revamped website is the latest marker on our brand’s mission to connect on every step of the customer journey and deliver the best experience possible,” Bosanac says.
Mopar also is working with Harman and Google technologies to deliver a new “ecosystem” that will enhance the connected life of FCA vehicle owners globally, he says.
Bosanac says the objective is to create and nurture a system that uses data and analytics to enhance the customer’s experience by predicting maintenance needs. The system will quickly and securely manage in-vehicle and additional data using an architecture based on the Harman Ignite cloud-based platform. With the system, vehicles can receive over-the-air software updates, ensuring owners benefit from new capabilities and the latest software applications, Bosanac says.
In the future, the connected ecosystem created by the collaboration with Harman and Google also will enhance the technical environment for FCA’s electrified vehicles with applications such as remote battery management, smart trip navigator and vehicle-to-grid services.
It also will support the FCA Mobility Services portfolio including features such as pay-by-the-mile options, usage-based vehicle insurance, short-, medium- and long-term vehicle rental and peer-to-peer car-sharing solutions such as the U-Go system, recently launched in Europe by Leasys, a long-term fleet rental service.
FCA officials have said key components of the system will start rolling out in phases across the automaker’s global regions during second-half 2019, and all new FCA vehicles will be connected by 2022.
“By selecting industry leaders such as (Harman owner) Samsung and Google, we are making an efficient and responsible utilization of capital to provide advanced technological solutions to our customers worldwide,” says Harald Wester, FCA chief technical officer.
In collaboration with Harman-Samsung and Google, we have developed a flexible, easy-to-use and connected ‘ecosystem’ that not only deploys today’s technology but is also ready to integrate upcoming innovations,” Wester says.
Bosanac, however, also emphasizes Mopar isn’t going to neglect the traditional side of its business.
If anything, it is devoting more engineering and design resources to developing accessories and performance parts that have been synonymous with Mopar since it was formed in 1937, says Joe Dehner, head of Ram Exterior and Mopar Design.
Bosanac says Mopar doesn’t disclose revenue figures for its major business units, but demand has steadily increased as customers – particularly younger customers – become more interested in personalizing their vehicles, which is why Mopar has set up a network of separate shops near the company’s assembly plants to accessorize vehicles as they come off the assembly line and before they are shipped to dealers.
He notes 90% of all Jeep Gladiator pickups (above, left) are ordered with accessories and customers are spending, on average, $1,000 each to customize their vehicles.
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