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Ford imagines the future of its cars in an interactive studio at the World Trade Center

11
oct
2017
Bertrand Leseigneur
Retail Innovation Correspondent USA
2 minutes

FordHub

In February 2017, Ford launched “FordHub”, its studio of interactive experiences located in the now well-known Westfield World Trade Center Mall, the biggest shopping mall in Manhattan. A new way of engaging with consumers and imagining the future of transport with them for this car manufacturer, directly in line with its “Go Further” slogan adopted since 2012.

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The concept

FordHub brands itself as an interactive space open to everyone, whether or not they are customers of the brand. Aim : to encourage people to enjoy themselves when discussing the future of transport. 

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The venue is also a very stylish place, with a LED wall of 5,000 small Ford cars : they all individually light up or go out according to the movements of the visitors.

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Le FordHub encourages consumers to join the brand in exploring, experimenting and learning how the company is rethinking the future of transport. This is far removed from a showroom featuring the brand’s latest models. Indeed, there are no showroom models in the venue.

Why visiting the store ?

Relive the experience at home

When you enter the  FordHub store, pick up a contactless card that will let you test different experiences. Back at home, you can prolong the experience by logging on to Ford’s site. Enter the code marked on your NFC card. You can then watch the videos shown on the screens relating to your experiences again, or get more information on the FordHub. You can also download the mobile app to stay informed of the latest innovations.

Play the “Last Mile Challenge”

Standing on a “wobble board”, wander around the city of tomorrow using various different modes of transport, from driverless cars to electronic bicycles. You have to identify the means of transport that best matches the situation you are experiencing. If there’s a bottleneck on the road, get out of your car and use an electric bicycle!

Originally the Last Mile Challenge was a sort of in-house Hackathon for Ford staff. More than 600 projects were submitted. The winners were means portable and electric of transport.

Compete in the “Mustang on Manhattan”

The challenge is simple: wearing a virtual reality headset, you have to virtually construct a Mustang at the top of the Empire State Building. This virtual game is a tribute to what Ford did during a photo shoot in 2015. The brand had dismantled then reassembled a Ford Mustang at the top of the Empire State Building.

Benefit from the advice of the “Guides”

Not salesmen but guides (ten or so at peak hours), who are at your disposal to tell you more about Ford experiments and vehicles, but also to talk about how this venue inspires you. For instance, you can ask for explanations about the technologies presented, and how they will eventually be incorporated into the vehicles. You can also learn to “design” your Ford vehicle with them.

Encourage creativity

The venue is meant to be a repository for new ideas, whether you are users, artists or opinion leaders. All these trends of opinion may provide input for forthcoming experiments. You can also post your ideas by taking up the « Mobilize New York ». challenge. This challenge is designed to stimulate new ideas and find ways of helping New Yorkers travel more easily and quickly.

Debriefing Ford Hub

Fordhub's pictures

Bertrand Leseigneur
Retail Innovation Correspondent USA
Based in New York, Bertrand is the Innovation Retail correspondent of the Echangeur in the USA, he decodes the latest American concept stores !!
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