Starting next model year, Ford will begin offering a new feature designed to limit the freedoms teens have while driving mom and dad’s car.
MyKey, as Ford is calling it, will allow parents to limit the top speed of the car, sound a continuous alarm if the seat belt is not buckled and even limit the volume of the stereo system.
The feature will be standard on some 2010 Ford models, beginning with the Focus.
I can see Ford’s strategy here of giving concerned parents a way to control the driving habits of their teens. And I agree with the fact that teens are notoriously bad drivers and probably shouldn’t be allowed behind the wheel until they are 17 or 18.
Considering all that, you might think that I’d sing the praises for MyKey, but in fact I despise the idea for one simple reason: trust.
The fact is, America’s legal driving age is 16. Whether I like that or not it’s the law. As legal drivers, we need to trust teens to make the right choices behind the wheel just as much as we trust every other legal driver.
I wonder if Ford has considered this little fact: teens are fickle.
Especially the group of teens known as Generation Y. If these teens feel a lack of trust from a corporation now, they’re less likely to give that corporation their business a couple years down the road.
When it’s time for the teens of today to make their first vehicle purchase, do you think there’s any chance that they’ll buy a Ford? The same company that didn’t even trust them with the radio controls?
This is potentially a huge alienation of the next group of auto buyers, and a real opportunity for brands like Scion to step up and embrace teens with a very simple message: We trust you.
What do you think of MyKey?