Ford takes new tack in latest software update
LOS ANGELES -- Determined to show that its infotainment systems are up to date and easy to use, Ford Motor Co. is launching another software improvement for MyFord Touch and MyLincoln Touch.
But this time, the task is bigger.
In Ford's last major change last spring, the company mailed more than 300,000 thumb drives to customers. Owners could use the thumb drives to update their vehicle software or take their vehicles to dealerships, where the task would be done for them.
But now, the infotainment systems are installed in more than 1 million vehicles on the road or at dealerships.
Ford, still smarting from its poor showing in Consumer Reports' 2012 vehicle reliability study, wants to show consumers it is keeping its infotainment systems up to date. Lincoln finished 26th and Ford 27th in the survey of 28 brands, and the magazine cited ongoing problems with the touch-screen controls as a major reason.
"We're thinking more and more like not only a car company, but a technology company," Ford COO Mark Fields told reporters here at the Los Angeles Auto Show.
Ford executives have insisted the company will continue its quest to be a vehicle technology leader.
To reassure customers, Ford is extending the warranties on the systems, Fields said. On MyFord Touch, the warranty now will be 5 years/unlimited miles, up from 3 years/36,000 miles. The software on Lincolns will now be covered for 6 years/unlimited miles, up from 4 years/50,000 miles.
This time, customers can improve their systems by downloading the updates from Ford's syncmyride.com Web site or they can visit a dealership. When Ford mailed the thumb drives last spring, about 80 percent of customers performed the upgrades themselves. The other 20 percent went to dealerships.
A Ford spokesman said the upgrades will be in three phases, starting Dec. 10 for MyFord Touch without navigation systems. In early January, customers with navigation will be mailed new secure digital cards. Phase three will begin later in the first quarter and include all customers with electrified vehicles such as the C-Max Hybrid and Fusion Hybrid.
The upgrade includes simplified Bluetooth phone pairing, more intuitive voice commands and easier ways to input destinations in the navigation system.
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