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Leave the large touch screens to tablets

It's no secret that Consumer Reports has shown no love for the MyFord Touch infotainment/secondary control system in the latest crop of Ford vehicles. Ford's move to a touchscreen- and touch sensitive button-based system for nearly all secondary controls in the vehicle flies in the face of conventional wisdom where your eyes are supposed to be on the road, so Consumer Reports' concerns are mostly valid.
Consumer Reports writes, "MyFord Touch still frustrates us like few other control systems in any other brand's automobiles. And worse, it is influencing competitors, such as GM, with its Cadillac CUE system." The complaints are numerous, ranging from hard to discern flush capacitive switches, to poor steering wheel controls, to poorly designed center consoles that make using the touch screen difficult. In addition, the touch sensitive buttons can sometimes be too sensitive, registering multiple button presses.

Consumer Reports complains that the recessed screen in the 2013 Ford Escape makes reaching climate/radio controls (which are located at the corners of the screen) difficult to reach [Image Source: Ford]
But "What about the voice commands?” defenders might argue. Well, Consumer Reports states that while voice commands should help alleviate some of the troubles of using the touch screen system, they are just an troublesome crutch in practice for commonly used controls:
The voice commands are helpful for complicated inputs, like entering a destination in the navigation system or choosing a playlist from a phone or an iPod. But using them for basic commands, such as temperature or radio tuning, is time consuming and cumbersome. It feels like a Band-Aid for the car's poorly designed physical controls.
And Consumer Reports even goes so far as to reach out to the gaming audience by invoking the use of physical controls on gaming systems like the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Vita, etc.:
Ever consider why video games still use separate controllers with physical buttons, knobs, and joysticks? You never have to take your eyes off the screen, where the bad guys could appear suddenly and shoot you. The same should be true for the view of the road out the windshield while driving. Studies have shown that crashes escalate dramatically the longer drivers take their eyes off the road. We think MyFord Touch and MyLincoln Touch require far too many glances away from traffic to operate even common functions. And the voice command system is awkward enough that for simple adjustments, most of our drivers don't use it instead.
Consumer Reports goes on to say that simply calling them "newbs" at MyFord Touch isn't a proper defense for the systems. The publication has tested six vehicles with MyFord Touch (and the MyLincoln Touch) and has logged over 20,000 miles using it, so their drivers are quite familiar with all aspects of the system.

Ford's handsome new 2013 Fusion also comes with MyFord Touch. The Fusion is a volume seller for Ford, so the automaker can't afford big missteps. [Image Source: Ford]
We should also point out that Consumer Reports isn't the only publication to give MyFord Touch two thumbs down. Ford was hammered in the latest 2012 J.D. Power Initial Quality study mostly because of drivers' disdain for MyFord Touch. For tumbled from seventh place in the 2011 study to a 23rd place in the 2012 study.
A representative for Ford reached out to Consumer Reports following the publication of the article with the following statement:
We listen closely and value all feedback on our vehicles - whether it's from customers or third parties. That feedback is used to continuously improve our products and we're seeing results from that commitment. According to a survey of MyFord and MyLincoln Touch owners conducted earlier this year, those who installed the recent software upgrade report a 25 percentage point increase in satisfaction. Also, 71 percent of owners with the new upgrade say they would recommend MyFord or MyLincoln Touch to others.
Ford has issued software updates to address some complaints of MyFord Touch, but they don't address the underlying problem with replacing traditional buttons and knobs that can be easily sought out by feel with an outstretched hand versus a touch screen that requires constant eye contact.

Source: Consumer Reports

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RE: leave it to Ford
By Reclaimer77 on 8/23/2012 12:13:13 PM , Rating: -1
No private business can compete with something Government run and subsidized. So you saying GM outsold Ford means nothing to me. Damn right they are, they were given $45 BILLION!

You. Are. Wrong.


RE: leave it to Ford
By StanO360 on 8/23/2012 12:27:49 PM , Rating: 2
Not true, you forgot the billions in tax giveaways, locally, federally and subsidies to their battery supplier. It's much more than that. And seeing that their value has dropped so precipitously, it amounts to a huge subsidy to each car.

RE: leave it to Ford
By jmarchel on 8/23/12, Rating: -1
RE: leave it to Ford
By Reclaimer77 on 8/23/12, Rating: 0
RE: leave it to Ford
By jmarchel on 8/23/2012 1:45:32 PM , Rating: 1
As many others noticed here, Ford also got government money in one form or another so such thing as "pure capitalism" in the auto industry does not exist. The industry is so important to wealth of the nations that it is connected to governments in all countries that have big automakers. In fact manufacturers that are known to be much more tightly controlled by their governments such as Japanese, German or Korean are making products that in most cases beat our domestic, non subsidized products. VW for example, which in large part is directly owned by German goverment, is on it's way to become the largest manufacturer in the world. The bailout that you are so sick of started under G.W.Bush and continued under Obama. Just this should make clear that people at the top in both parties understand the importance of the auto industry. Not mentioning that the "bailout" is still considered a loan and might be repaid back fully or large part of it with interest. As of who makes the "best" product, customers decide by voting at the dealership.


RE: leave it to Ford
By EnzoFX on 8/23/2012 3:32:18 PM , Rating: 2
Wow... Some people...

RE: leave it to Ford
By Richard875yh5 on 8/26/2012 8:46:15 AM , Rating: 2
Yea, Ford didn't take any money. Ford is keeping quiet, but they took money.

RE: leave it to Ford
By TSS on 8/23/2012 2:35:54 PM , Rating: 4
GM's biggest lost was in 2007 - one year before the auto industry crashed which was also the best year for auto sales ever. It actually lost less money in the crisis (something like $37 billion loss in 2007 and $33 billion in 2008).

Also they did not outsell ford. They out-channel stuffed ford. GM counts vehicles sold to dealers as "sold", with US dealer inventory now standing at record levels nearly triple what it was after the bailout. They've also been channel stuffing in china and germany.

And how many bailouts has chrysler had? this was the 3rd or something? Mind you, if anybody deserve credit for the chrystler turn around it's Fiat who owns the majority of chrysler now (it's bailout was a little different from GM's bailout). I'd say they look promising now, but history has a tendancy of repeating itself.

Fisker is a joke, you must've not followed the news recently. Tesla is doing fine so far, but remember they had a very long term plan in which they've delayed the critical point for their business model (a cheap electric car for the masses) untill 2-3 car models in. And to be quite frank i wasn't very impressed with the features-to-price ratio of the model S. They are going to run into problems when they'll try to make a sub $30,000 car, and they'll need to half that for EVs to really take off. I'm not saying they can't deal with those problems. Just saying they haven't proven themselves yet.

Ford however keeps chucking along. They didn't need or want any help (regardless wether or not they got any) and are surviving the (ongoing) crisis just fine. Their cars are actually selling across the board and you hardly hear any bad news about them. I mean actual vehicles recalled or bursting into flames kind of news.

Soooooo..... unless you want to start counting toyota, honda etc, Ford's the best you got. In real world terms that is. Wether that says something about ford or about the rest of the american auto industry, i'll leave up to you.

RE: leave it to Ford
By theapparition on 8/24/2012 9:58:21 AM , Rating: 2
Also they did not outsell ford. They out-channel stuffed ford. GM counts vehicles sold to dealers as "sold", with US dealer inventory now standing at record levels nearly triple what it was after the bailout. They've also been channel stuffing in china and germany.

Pure BS. You should be ashamed for even saying this. I mean, really? You have no idea how it works. Like someone who sees a snipit on the news and then forms their own version like it's fact.

GM (or any other manufacturer) can't channel stuff. Orders for cars are placed by dealers. Those dealers are taking the risk that what they buy is going to be sold. The notion that a car manufacturer can force their dealers to buy cars is LUDICROUS . Sure there may be extra incentives, but it's always at the dealers prerogative to exercise them.

And despite what you also may think, when a car manufacturer "sells" a car to a dealer, that's a sale. They no longer own it, the dealer does. Dealers don't have the option to return cars. If so, you'd never hear about those cars that have been sitting on the lot for a year, etc. Manufacturers don't have to track if cars are getting into the hands of consumers (even though they do).

If you manufacture "widgets" and sell 1mil to a store, you don't then try to track how many actually get into consumers hands and report that as sales. You sold a million, you report a million. The only reason you track consumer sales is so you can prep your manufacturing pipeline to sell the next million. That's how it works, not your ridiculous notion.

As for dealer inventories, that may be true. But it's dealers who've taken the risk. They've been doing this for a bit of time, and while not perfect, are much better predicting sales than you or I.

I'm not commenting on the GM/Chrysler or foreign vs. domestic situation. Just wanted to clear your incorrect assertions.

RE: leave it to Ford
By Brunsworks on 8/23/2012 12:38:51 PM , Rating: 2
Well, he's wrong but for two facts: 1) Ford received loan guarantees from the government under programs separate from the publicized GM/Chrysler bailout, which both automakers paid back. 2) GM and Chrysler are not government run, and never have been, even when they (along with Ford) were major vehicle manufacturers for the military in World War II. I don't know where you get that idea.

RE: leave it to Ford
By Reclaimer77 on 8/23/2012 1:05:06 PM , Rating: 1
GM/Chrysler bailout, which both automakers paid back.


GM "paid back" the Government with STIMULUS money. They still owe the US taxpayer some $22 billion dollars. And as their stock price drops, that number gets bigger.

GM and Chrysler are not government run

Semantics. At this point they are still completely Government funded. It's perfectly legitimate to view this situation as being "Government ran". Especially in light of how much the Government took over the bankruptcy process in their favor, robbed the bond holders, and placed the union in charge of the company.

RE: leave it to Ford
By invidious on 8/23/2012 2:53:16 PM , Rating: 4
robbed the bond holders, and placed the union in charge of the company.
This was the worst part of the whole thing IMO. Its appalling that the government is allowed to behave like this. The unions were probably the most to blame for the financial ruin of the company but they were allowed to maintain more of their stake than anyone other party. It must be nice to be amongst the constituency.

RE: leave it to Ford
By Reclaimer77 on 8/23/12, Rating: 0
"Can anyone tell me what MobileMe is supposed to do?... So why the f*** doesn't it do that?" -- Steve Jobs

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