Ford partners with Salesforce to grow its software business, Auto News, ET Auto

DETROIT:

Ford Motor Co on Tuesday announced plans to launch a new subscription software service aimed at small businesses, in conjunction with enterprise software company Salesforce.com Inc.

The software service, called VIIZR, will be offered from next year by the automaker’s Ford Pro utility and service unit. Based on Salesforce technology, the system will digitize documents for contractors, repair technicians and other tradespeople, and will start at $39 per month per user, Ford said.

VIIZR customers don’t have to drive Ford vehicles, but the small business target market overlaps with a key market for Ford commercial trucks and vans.

Ford, like rival automakers, is working to create recurring subscription revenue streams to supplement revenue from vehicle sales that may be hit by economic downturns or disruptions like recent semiconductor shortages.

Salesforce and other software-as-a-service companies tend to have higher stock valuations than manufacturers. Salesforce has a market cap of nearly $253 billion, compared to Ford’s $76 billion.

Ford said it will offer companies free trial use of the VIIZR system before launch in the first half of 2022.

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The No. 2 U.S. automaker said it would begin a pilot phase for some employees in February and March. The company had previously said it would not return to work under a hybrid work model – a combination of onsite and remote work – until January. Ford had required most of its U.S. salaried employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by Jan. 4.

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