Ford Motor Company has signed a five-year agreement with Stripe, an online payment processor, to scale the automaker's e-commerce capabilities. Stripe will facilitate transactions for vehicle orders and reservations, handle financing options for Ford's commercial customers and route customer's payments from the automaker's website to the correct local Ford or Lincoln dealer.
Ford plans to begin rolling out Stripe's technology in the second half of 2022, starting with North America, but with aims to roll out in Europe, as well, according to the company. Last year, Stripe raised a $600 million round at a valuation of $95 billion, funds the company said it would use to expand in Europe.
The tie-up with Stripe is part of Ford's larger Ford+ restructuring plan, an electrification and growth strategy into which the company plans to invest $30 billion by 2025. The strategic decision is also in line with much of the auto industry's move toward investing in technology that will offer the greatest likelihood of capturing returns, specifically in the short-term as the pandemic stunted automakers' abilities to meet customer demands. And with Ford and Lincoln gearing up to add a number of subscription services, like, most recently, Amazon's Fire TV, it makes sense for the automaker to establish a robust digital payment platform.
“As part of the Ford+ plan for growth and value creation, we are making strategic decisions about where to bring in providers with robust expertise and where to build the differentiated, always-on experiences our customers will value,” said Marion Harris, CEO of Ford's financial services arm, Ford Motor Credit Company, in a statement. “Stripe has developed strong expertise in user experiences that will help provide easy, intuitive and secure payment processes for our customers.”
Stripe's platform, which has other big-name customers like Deliveroo, Shopify and Salesforce, will be a key part of Ford's product and service tech stack, the company says. The payment processor should help create more efficiency in a range of e-commerce payments, which also will include charging services.
So far, investors are reacting positively to the Ford+ plan. The automaker was the best-performing auto stock in 2021, over Tesla, General Motors and even the new and overhyped Rivian. Last week, Ford's market capitalization topped $100 billion for the first time.