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SmartLink helps older Fords go online

Modem device plugs into OBD-II diagnostics port to provide connectivity

Published: January 28, 2017, 2:30 AM
Updated: February 1, 2017, 5:28 AM

Ford SmartLink

Ford SmartLink logo

You know how sometimes you miss out on some neat in-car features just because you bought a new car one year too early? Well, Ford is turning back the clock when it comes to connectivity features by making it SmartLink system available on cars dating back to 2010.

The latest Ford and Lincoln vehicles have extensive wireless features and controls that have been developed over the years, but its new SmartLink technology is available as a plug-and-play item that plugs into the OBD-II (vehicle diagnostics) port, usually located under the steering column in the driver’s side footwell.

“Ford SmartLink will surprise and delight owners of recent model-year vehicles by adding some of today’s most popular connectivity features,” said Stephen Odell, executive vice president, Global Marketing, Sales and Service. “Offering it through our dealerships is another way to keep us connected with our customers and earn their loyalty.”

The plug-in device features a modem and 4G LTE high-speed capability, to allow creation of a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot that can accommodate up to eight connections, an app and web-portal link to allow a Smartphone to work as a remote (door lock and unlock, and engine start), locate the vehicle, and receive alerts about maintenance and service requirements, and the vehicle’s security.

OBD-II port

Ford is estimating that many past vehicle owners will purchase the new device, which was developed in collaboration with Delphi Automotive and Verizon Telematics to work seamlessly with Ford and Lincoln vehicles from model years 2010 to 2016. It will be available at Ford Dealerships starting in summer 2017.

“From security to performance, we’ve conducted extensive testing and made a number of improvements to ensure Ford SmartLink enhances the customer experience for our owners,” concluded Raj Nair, executive vice president, Global Product Development, and chief technical officer. “We are thrilled to offer this level of convenience and connectivity to our existing customers, extending the value of their vehicles.”