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Woes blamed on less than stellar DCT shifting and MyFord touch

After years of being ranked as one of the most reliable automakers in the industry, Ford’s recent use of in-car infotainment systems have caused it to plummet in quality rankings. Consumer Reports indicates that only a couple years ago Ford was in the top 10 among brands in its predicted reliability scores with over 90% of its models being average or better. However, in the most recent Consumer Reports reliability scores, Ford has dropped to number 27 out of 28 in the survey. Studies from JD Power have also noted a drop in Ford’s ranking.

Japanese automakers are taking advantage of Ford's decline with Scion, Toyota, and Lexus sweeping the top three spots. Those three Toyota brands were followed by Mazda, Subaru, Honda, and Acura with all models produced by the top seven brands offering average or better reliability.

Multiple factors contributed to Ford's significant decline in Consumer Reports rankings. Consumer Reports has shown no love for Ford's MyFord Touch technology and its survey participants obviously agree. Several of Ford's new vehicles -- including the Explorer, Fiesta, and Focus -- had more problems than normal according to Consumer Reports. Another significant contributing factor to Ford's decline in the rankings is three of its historically reliable models, the Escape, Fusion, and Lincoln MKZ are not included in the current analysis because they were all redesigned for 2013.

MyFord Touch

Consumer Reports director of testing Jake Fisher notes that despite attempts to improve MyFord Touch, the system, which is featured in many Ford vehicles, continues to confuse customers. Fisher also says that customers continue to complain about rough shifting on Ford six-speed dual-clutch PowerShift transmissions.

“They’ve put out some updates to try to address some of those problems for both the transmissions and the infotainment controls, but it doesn’t seem to be enough,” Fisher said.

Despite Ford plummeting in the Consumer Reports reliability rankings, the company posted a massive profit for Q3 2012. Ford racked up $1.63 billion in profit during the quarter, marking a slight decline from $1.65 billion earned the same quarter of 2011. Ford had a pre-tax operating profit $2.2 billion amounting to $.40 per share. Analysts had anticipated a gain of $.30 per share.

"The Ford team delivered a best-ever third quarter, driven by record results in North America and the continued strength of Ford Credit," said Alan Mulally, Ford president and CEO, in a statement. "While we are facing near-term challenges in Europe, we are fully committed to transforming our business in Europe by moving decisively to match production to demand, improve revenue through new products and grow a stronger brand, improve our cost efficiencies and take advantage of opportunities to profitably grow our business."

However, things don't look is rosy for Ford in Europe with the company reporting a loss of $460 million during the quarter marking a loss of about $1 billion in Europe this year alone. Ford has previously announced that it expects to lose about $1.5 billion in Europe during 2012 and 2013. The automaker plans to restructure its European operations and shed workers.

Sources: Consumer Reports, Free Press, Detroit News, Detroit News

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By Flunk on 10/30/2012 9:57:07 AM , Rating: 3
I think you need to mention that MyFord Touch is an option on most of the vehicles it's available on. You can still buy half-decent Fords, that do not have the half-baked touch system. Consumer Reports seems to be totally neglecting this too.

RE: Optional
By Brandon Hill on 10/30/2012 10:54:19 AM , Rating: 3
While true, in my experience, most dealers only stock the MyFord Touch models as Ford is really pushing the "experience". On top of that, most of the top trim levels only come with MyFord Touch.

So if you want GPS or features like leather, etc, you're going to be stuck with it.

RE: Optional
By Spuke on 10/30/2012 11:46:54 AM , Rating: 2
Not at my local dealer. We only found one Focus with MyFord installed and two Edge's with it installed. None of the other cars had it installed.

RE: Optional
By Samus on 10/30/2012 3:09:14 PM , Rating: 2
Ditto, when I picked up my Focus ST, most of them on the lot (well, all 3 of them) did not have MyFord Touch. I asked why, and they said most people were ordering them without them, so they decided to stock the models without them to reduce special orders and dealer-trading.

Sometimes, dealers are smarter than manufactures, probably explains why they are often more profitable.

RE: Optional
By Trisped on 10/30/2012 11:52:54 AM , Rating: 2
Most people I know purposely bought the Fords because of MyFord Touch. They also said that it is great and they love it. I am not sure why Consumer Reports and the others have against it. Most DT articles do not even state why it is such a problem. This article indicates that there is a problem with it being too confusing, but my parents just picked up a Toyota Camry and besides being confused by the touch menu, they also complain about the Bluetooth not working correctly with their phones so 1/2 the time they cannot pickup the call because the car never registers it.

The truth is that they all have problems. I wish these articles would explain what problems customers are having (with more detail then just "It is confusing") so I actually knew why so many people do not like it.
As I have indicated, most people I talk to who actually own the car have indicated that they love the touch system and have no problems with it.

RE: Optional
By edge929 on 10/30/2012 12:39:26 PM , Rating: 2
I have a 2011 Explorer with MyFord Touch and being a computer geek I was able to get around its nuances. The latest major update did improve the system and I really can't come up with a serious complaint about it. I've used 5 different models of cell phones with it and had slight problems with one (fixed by the update). The 2 USB ports will charge most devices (GPS, all of my phones) and the SD card slot is great for throwing gigs of MP3s on and then navigate through it with voice controls (ex: play Aerosmith).

RE: Optional
By Trisped on 10/30/2012 5:23:03 PM , Rating: 2
Thanks edge929, That is very informative.

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