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Will Upgrades to MyFord Touch Save the System?

Automaker mails upgrades to existing customers, includes updates on new vehicles.

By Douglas Newcomb Mar 5, 2012 12:20PM

MyFord Touch UpgradeThe rise and fall of Ford’s automotive infotainment fortunes over the past five years highlight the trials and tribulations that come from staking a claim as a technology frontrunner. As people praised Apple founder Steve Jobs after his death last year for his bold innovation, most of the attention focused on his later triumphs and less on his midcareer failures. Remember Apple’s Lisa computer or Job’s own NeXT? I didn’t think so.


While car companies know a thing or two about product hits and misses, technology moves at a much faster pace, and a goof on a gadget will probably disappear faster than even a flaming Pinto. Ford’s Sync system was a hit right out of the gate when it debuted in 2007, and it became the benchmark for a new kind of connected, mobile-centric automotive infotainment architecture.


Sync was followed by MyFord Touch, a radically different in-dash interface that wasn’t quite as well-received. In addition to the usual griping by most old-school, tech-challenged auto journalists, the system suffered a major setback when Consumer Reports criticized it as too complex and distracting to use. Then Ford fell from fifth to 23rd place in J.D Power & Associates’ highly visible Initial Quality Study ranking -- and that fall was precipitated mainly by consumer complaints about MyFord Touch.


But one of Sync's most significant features, the ability to upgrade via software, may likewise prove MyFord Touch's saving grace.


Ford today announced upgrades to MyFord Touch that include simplified graphics, bolder text, faster touch-screen response and improved voice controls and phone compatibility. Support for tablet computers has also been added, as well as navigation features such as richer graphics, smart routing options and easier destination entry.


Starting this week, Ford will begin mailing MyFord Touch and MyLincoln Touch upgrade packages to existing owners; the package includes a USB flash drive with the software update, detailed instructions for the 60-minute download and an updated user guide. Owners who have a navigation-equipped vehicle will also receive an SD card with updated map data. If they don’t want to handle the software upgrade themselves, owners can have a Ford or Lincoln dealer do it instead.


Ford is also pushing ahead with making the new and improved system available on all new 2013 models that offer MyFord Touch, including the new Taurus and Flex. In a press release, the company says that MyFord Touch order rates have risen 5 percent for the Explorer and Edge -- which were already at 79 and 72 percent, respectively. And Ford also says that 56 percent of buyers responded in owner surveys that Sync and MyFord Touch were “important to their purchase decision.”


Maybe it took some time for owners to get used to the system. And maybe this new upgrade will help. Or maybe it’ll be a lesson for the Blue Oval and other automakers on potential backlash that can come from bold moves. 

Mar 6, 2012 4:17AM

Well again I will say this...I think a lot of people just are to lazy to read the owners manual for anything. When you buy a new laptop with the newest tech do you at least glance through the manual? We have 2 My Ford touch and so far have been flawless. My 73 year old father-in-law has also had no issues. He did read the entire manual. If your to lazy to read then you do not need any new technology. Better yet if you want boring and very bland then buy a Toyota or honda. I will stick Ford.

Mar 6, 2012 6:06AM

Ok if bashing is gonna start fine. How about multiple blown engines in corollas, very premature rusted tundra frames, forgetting to seal for water leaks in a new camr, amongst others. I personally wouldn't wipe my dogs a$$ with a Toyota. My family is either ex Gm or toyota fans. All have now switched to Ford and love them. Keep your Toyota and honda $hit. 

Mar 6, 2012 8:23AM

Ford is definitely the frontrunner in the in-car tech space, so I'm glad to see them making progress with MyFord Touch.

Mar 6, 2012 8:43AM
Wake up  -  All car opinions aside,  I hope you beat the cancer !!!!!!!!!!!
Mar 6, 2012 2:52AM

The display is not equipped with a manual turn-off switch, which I consider a shortcoming. But it is important to note that the buttons below the screen for the radio and A/C controls as well as the ones on the steering are sufficient to operate everything without having to use the display. It is my opinion that the display, although nice to look at, is just an overkill.

I have owned my 2011 Edge for about a year, and the display blanked-off once!! otherwise, no issues.

Mar 6, 2012 6:17AM
I don't consider multiple blown engines in corrollas very dependable maybe my parents should have bought the service crew that couldn't fix it the third time around a lot of xmas gifts ,maybe that would have helped. Your right there are better built vehicles out there and they are not Toyotas
Mar 6, 2012 7:32AM
Thanks Frosty for being understanding, unlike some people. It's nice deal with people that have some smarts. I do want to add that for the past 5 years I have been dealing with cancer and have had to constantly drive or be driven lately to the hospital. This trip is over 150 miles round trip sometimes 5 days a week. My wife and family would visit me daily when I had to spend extended time in the hospital. I have not had to worry about vehicle issues which believe me if nothing else gives me great piece of mind. Sorry to bore all of you but compared to some other vehicles I have owned I could not make that claim.
Mar 6, 2012 9:03AM
What kind of A-hole gives a thumbs down to a guy that just adimitted to dealing with cancer for five years? You are a total loser.
  Best of luck Wake Up.

Mar 6, 2012 6:59AM
If you guys were blowing engines in a bullet proof 4 cyl Toyota, you might try changing/checking the oil once in awhile. Those motors were indestructible so you either bought a badly abused/used car, abused it yourselves or are just not telling the truth.
   I run a shop that has four ASE certified mechanics and none of us are going to but that kind of story when we KNOW those engines. We all do, however, know very well just how dependable Fords are, they are at least better than  Dodge or GM though.
Mar 6, 2012 7:14AM
Nope sorry this car was bought new, serviced by Toyota,warrantied by Toyota, and engine was changed twice by Toyota. All within 16,000 miles bought new. Now having said that the VP of my co. bought a new 08 corolla for the same reason as you claim with great dependability and the engine had to be replaced. Both dealers said bad oil porting. Think what you want and so will I. I'm just tired or Ford bashing when I have seen more issues with Toyota.
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