Starbucks confirmed after the bell Friday that it has signed a wide ranging five year strategic relationship with struggling automaker Ford. The deal allows Starbucks to provide in-car caffeine delivery systems to all new Ford cars and trucks through 2012.
Starbucks has suffered recently from the forced closure of its Forbidden City store, while Ford is gushing red from every orifice. Speaking over coffee at a news conference Friday both CEOs were keen to talk up the announcement. "We are keen to deliver a more exciting driving experience," said Alan Mulally, "And we believe a continual-feed in-car espresso machine will do just that".
To date, in-vehicle coffee systems have remained on the fringe of the after-market. Audi went cold on the idea after dabbling with their Roadjet concept system. And the Nespresso in-car coffee machine has failed to find a market. This time, however, Starbucks believes they have it right.
"Our system is factory installed, ergonomically designed, and smells great." Boasted Ray Zecki, Starbucks chief creative officer, "Its drip-feed system delivers coffee directly to the driver's mouth, eliminating the potentially fatal risks associated with other systems." Other features include a GPS store locator for efficient coffee refills, an MP3 soft-rock music playlist to recreate in store atmosphere and fake coffee-brewing sound effects. Recommended price is $695, with the first systems appearing early 2008.