The MyFord Touch system in a 2011 Ford Edge Limited(Photo: Ford Wieck)
LOS ANGELES -- Ford Motor is extending warranties of its
controversial MyFord Touch infotainment system and upgrading the system
in ways that could allay criticism that it's hard to use.
warranty for the system that uses voice commands to let drivers place
phone calls and radio controls is being extended from three years to
five years. For Ford's Lincoln luxury brand, it goes to six years, says
Ford's North American chief Mark Fields, who is about to start at the
automaker's chief operating officer.
In addition, Ford is issuing
SD cards, those postage-stamp sized digital recording devices, that can
be inserted to upgrade the systems.
The upgrade, called 3.5, shows
how Ford is responding to poor scores on quality ratings from J.D.
Power and Associates and others that record complaints from consumers
about infotainment systems that are hard to operate.
Yet Ford says
many buyers come to the brand just because of its advanced infotainment
systems. Even as it gets beat up in some independent surveys, Ford
reports a survey of its own buyers show 71% would recommend MyFord Touch
to a friend, according to Ford's U.S. sales chief, Jim Farley.
Sync system, which lets buyers bring their own personal smartphones to
the car to link to the infotainment systems, factored in 56% of
purchases, he says. "I've never seen a $300 option have that kind of
impact," he says.
But Fields, speaking to reporters at the Los Angeles Auto Show, says "We are very committed to technology" despite the reaction.