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Ford may fall even further in important ranking

Ford learned a valuable lesson last year when it equipped hundreds of thousands of Ford and Lincoln vehicles with versions of the MyFord Touch system for controlling entertainment and climate systems inside the vehicle. The problem was that the interface was cumbersome and difficult to navigate leaving many users confused and distracted while driving.

The complicated nature of the system led to Ford taking a beating in the important J.D. Power Initial Quality Study rankings in 2011. In 2011, Ford plummeted from seventh place to 23rd place in the Initial Quality Survey rankings simply because of MyFord Touch.

Ford started working immediately to make the system better, promising a major update that would make the system easier to use and simplify the screens. The bad news for Ford was that the update didn't land until March. The cutoff for the system be considered for this year's Initial Quality Study rankings was February.

"We expect to do about the same or a little better than last year," said Bernie Fowler, Ford's vice president of global quality. 
"Technology is one of the main reasons why people see us differently now today than they did just a few years ago," Jim Farley, Ford's group vice president for global marketing, sales and service, said to reporters Tuesday.
Despite the huge dip in rankings based on the technology, Ford remains committed to adding technology in automobiles and its MyFord Touch and MyLincoln Touch systems.
"They certainly have made some improvements," said Senior Analyst Michelle Krebs, who reported problems getting the voice-recognition system to locate certain cities. "Whether they've gone far enough remains to be seen."
Ford sent out upgrades to the system to owners of vehicles equipped with the optional hardware on a USB flash drive. The drivers plug that flash drive into the USB port inside the vehicle to apply the software update. According to Ford, 90% of the 377,000 vehicle owners who receive the software update have installed it, and 70% of those people installed the software without assistance from a dealership.

The official J.D. Power rankings will be released later today. 

Updated @ 2:07pm
The official rankings are out and Ford dropped from 23rd place down to 27th place -- worse than Ford predicted.

Sources: Detroit News, Inside Line, J.D. Power

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RE: Time to wake up
By Targon on 6/21/2012 12:58:01 PM , Rating: 2
The auto industry has been around for over 100 years now, and as a result, you saw very little innovation prior to around ten years ago. The PC industry has only been around since the late 1970s, but it had taken until the mid 1990s before your average home would have a computer in it.

The element that is currently being focused on is voice recognition and syntax for things like voice commands, and that is the thing that most people have issues with. In general, you don't want to be touching ANY controls for the entertainment system or climate controls, since that means you will be taking your attention away from driving.

One thing that isn't standard are interfaces for various components, and that is a valid concern for future part replacements, but considering how quickly things have been changing, this is to be expected. On the positive side, now that we are moving to these systems being software based, advances can come MUCH faster than previous systems. LCD screens(even without touch screen controls) means that backup cameras and basic navigation(a map that shows where you are, even if you don't have a touch screen) will become standard features in the future.

With all of this going on, things like making almost all features as "modules" means that features CAN be added after a vehicle is sold, and replacing parts in a modular system will be far easier than the old days of needing all those mechanical parts. This may take another decade, but it will happen.

Now, on a different note, the evolution of computers has been so much faster than cars, it makes sense that you wouldn't BUY a new copy of Windows XP at this point, because you already own it. You can't buy a new Dodge Dart anymore either, do you complain that they don't sell them anymore when newer and better cars have come out over the years? Why would you WANT to use an old single-core processor based machine at this point, except to run legacy software? Clinging to the past is the reason why many can't handle what the world CURRENTLY is like, let alone what it will be like in another ten years. Don't cling to the past, embrace change, and you can then handle ANYTHING that life throws at you.

"Intel is investing heavily (think gazillions of dollars and bazillions of engineering man hours) in resources to create an Intel host controllers spec in order to speed time to market of the USB 3.0 technology." -- Intel blogger Nick Knupffer

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