Ford’s Quality Hit: Too Much Distracting Tech
It had to happen. Consumers, disgusted or confused by Ford’s proliferation of its Sync and MyTouch systems, complained in sufficient numbers that Ford’s quality rating, as measured by the J.D. Power Initial Quality Study, fell from 5th place last year to 23rd this year.
Problems with these hands-free systems have accelerated by nearly 240 percent.
The Power study is an industry benchmark in determining car quality as perceived by consumers during the first 90 days of ownership. Lexus came out on top this year.
Now, I have never driven one of these Ford tech-mobiles, but the combination of touch-sensitive buttons; knobs that twist, pull and push; touch-screen choices in small and changing multiple fonts; steering-wheel-mounted controls; swipes and pushes with the finger; and voice commands that don’t work—how could all this crap not distract one from driving? And sometimes the system balks.
Here’s a 9-minute explanation of what MyTouch does and how it works that, I guarantee, will make you tune out by minute 3.
Automotive News says Ford recognizes the problem and is seeking solutions from its partners Best Buy and Microsoft. That’s a bit like asking Republicans to suggest new tax revenue strategies, but anyhow…
The company is going to improve online instruction, upgrade software, add more Sync experts to the call-center staff and pay dealers for more and better customer training. Mostly, it will be up to the dealers to get their salespeople trained. We’ll see how well that works out.
As Consumer Reports said,
None of the options works as well or is as easy to use as old-fashioned knobs and switches, and they can be more time-consuming and distracting to operate. First-time users might find it impossible to comprehend.
But Ford is continuing to push the electronic envelope, with accident-avoidance devices and, as we reported, in-car monitoring of your health (blood glucose, heartbeat irregularities, etc.), all in the pursuit of profit, all at the expense of distracted driving.
Are you for or against the proliferation of electronic devices in today’s cars? Can Ford fix its Sync and MyTouch problems?