Ford Motor Company is working to make its infotainment systems easier to use and more reliable. The company’s CEO, Alan Mulally, says quality-control processes for the development of its Sync, MyFord Touch and MyLincoln Touch software is being revamped in an attempt to identify and eliminate problems that have resulted in lower quality and reliability ratings for some of its vehicles in recent months.
The 2011 Ford Edge and 2011 Lincoln MKX both failed to receive a “recommended” rating from Consumer Reports, largely because of problems with the MyFord Touch and MyLincoln Touch technologies. In its summary, the consumer publication called the technology “a complicated distraction while driving,” and said the systems “did not always perform as promised.”
In a recent reliability survey conducted by J.D. Power and Associates, the Ford brand scored lower than the industry average – in large part due to problems with the MyFord Touch system.
The MyFord Touch and MyLincoln Touch infotainment systems are standard equipment on a number of Ford vehicles.
Responding to reports of consumers who have shied away from Ford products because of concerns about the MyFord Touch system, Mulally said, “I think that when they see the new upgraded versions of it, they might change their mind.”
The company plans to send its customers free software upgrades for the MyFord Touch and MyLincoln Touch systems early next year. Owners will receive the software update on a flash drive and will be able to perform the upgrade themselves without having to visit their dealer.
Mulally said, “We haven’t changed anything about our strategy” for implementing the systems fleet-wide. By 2014, he expects 80 percent of Ford vehicles to include the MyFord Touch system, and there are plans to expand the number of Lincoln models that include MyLincoln Touch in their standard equipment packages.
Mulally said the MyFord Touch and MyLincoln Touch systems enhance drivers’ safety by allowing them to keep their “hands on the wheel and eyes on the road.”
Despite some negative publicity, he said most Ford and Lincoln owners are fans of the technology, which allows drivers to control cabin temperature and operate their cell phones and audio systems either with voice commands or through interaction with a center console mounted eight inch touch screen.
Mulally said, “Seventy percent of the people that use Sync and MyFord recommend it to their friends.” He also said that the technology is a selling point for about 50 percent of Ford and Lincoln buyers.
He also conceded that the technology is “maybe a little too sophisticated, with maybe a little too many options” for some consumers.
“We have most of the issues identified,” he said, adding, “We have fixes in place.”
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