Thanks primarily to Amazon, home delivery of everything from diapers to dog food has exploded in recent years. In 2018, for example, UPS delivered almost 6.2 billion packages, a nearly twofold increase from a decade ago.
Unfortunately, package theft also has skyrocketed. A recent study found 11 million homeowners had packages stolen in 2018 and 74% were pilfered while intended recipients were away.
To help thwart “porch pirates,” Ford announced Tuesday that owners of ’17 and newer Ford and ’18 and newer Lincoln vehicles with built-in connectivity can opt for Amazon Prime in-car delivery in 50 U.S. cities. While shopping on Amazon.com, Ford and Lincoln owners/Prime members can select an In-Car delivery option at checkout and give the company’s couriers one-time access to open their vehicles and drop off packages inside.
Owners receive a notification when the delivery is complete and the vehicle is relocked. The vehicle needs to be in a publicly accessible area such as a driveway, parking lot or on the street since Amazon won’t deliver to enclosed parking garages because of potential access and connection issues.
Ford isn’t the first OEM to partner with Amazon to allow Prime members to have deliveries made to their parked cars. The e-tail giant launched its Key by Amazon program last year in 37 U.S. cities, allowing owners of ‘15 or newer General Motors and Volvo vehicles with an active OnStar and Volvo On Call account to participate.
Car owners need to download the Key by Amazon smartphone app and link it with their FordPass, Lincoln Way, GM OnStar or Volvo On Call account. Amazon says data sent between the company and the car is encrypted and it doesn’t retain vehicle owners’ login details.
In addition to working with Amazon, starting Tuesday Ford and Lincoln owners in the Chicago area can summon the remote car-wash company Sparkl with the FordPass or Lincoln Way app to get their vehicles cleaned. Later this year the service will roll out via Spiffy to car owners in Raleigh-Durham, Charlotte, Atlanta, Los Angeles and Dallas, and to fleet service providers in Denver, New York, Seattle and Washington, DC, while remote car washes by Rub A Dub will be available in Washington, DC; McLean, VA; Rockville, MD; and Naples, FL.
Lorin Kennedy, FordPass ecosystem business leader, says bringing package delivery and car washes to vehicle owners is just the beginning of a larger on-demand delivery ecosystem the automaker plans to build around in-car connectivity. “We are actively in conversations with multiple retailers and service providers,” she says.
“We believe the added convenience will be of value to customers and third parties alike,” Kennedy adds. She declines to elaborate on future services but says, “There are a lot of things that we're working on and there’s also great opportunities around curbside services.”
Kennedy also hints that remote maintenance could be down the road. “We always recommend people get their vehicle regularly serviced, and since cars are parked most of the day there are a lot of opportunities,” she says.
“We're kicking it off with Amazon and some of our car wash partners,” Kennedy adds. “But we’re really looking to enhance the overall experience of having a connected vehicle make life simpler and at innovative ideas that we think our customers will enjoy.”