Will Upgrades to MyFord Touch Save the System?
Automaker mails upgrades to existing customers, includes updates on new vehicles.
The 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.
Ford is definitely the frontrunner in the in-car tech space, so I'm glad to see them making progress with MyFord Touch.
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.
I have had exactly the opposite experience Wake Up. Four ford trucks, ALL of them needing annual repairs, switched to Toyota and never another dime spent on a repair.
So, honestly, there is nothing wrong with Fords so go ahead and love yours. There are better built vehicles out there though, that's a fact.
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.
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