Incoming generations of car buyers want smaller cars than any of their predecessors.
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The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
Another week, another opportunity to assist a struggling motorist; that’s what Ask AutoGuide is all about. Just like populist presidential candidate William Jennings Bryan we’re here for the people. Specifically, folks like Zach, who e-mailed us asking for help picking out a compact car.
A new class action lawsuit has been filed on behalf of purchasers of Ford vehicles equipped with the MyFord Touch infotainment system, alleging that vehicles equipped with the systems are plagued with serious defects. News of the filing comes on the same day Ford has admitted its hybrid Fusion and C-Max models do not live up to their bold fuel economy claims.
The J.D. Power Initial Quality Study (IQS) is an annual report that’s closely followed by both automakers and consumers. It measures problems reported by vehicle buyers during the first 90 days of ownership. The research firm released its 2013 findings today at an Automotive Press Association luncheon in Detroit and the report was full of surprises.
MyFord Touch and Sync are helping to drive higher customer satisfaction rates, the automaker said today.
We live in a digital world. For many new-car shoppers megabytes and gigahertz are just as important as horsepower and fuel economy. To members of the younger demographic chips are made of silicon, not potatoes, and ram has nothing to do with trucks. But what about the rest of us? To help customers understand the high-tech features of their cars, every Lexus dealer is staffed with dedicated experts that are at the ready to answer any questions a buyer may have about their vehicle.
Six of the Top 10 Least Reliable Cars and Trucks on the road are Ford products. At least, that’s according to data provided by Consumer Reports, a non-profit organization that tests everything from toasters to homeowner’s insurance. This lopsided result has raised a lot of questions, like: Are Blue-Oval vehicles really that troublesome or is Consumer Reports’ survey methodology flawed?
Among all the new tablets and smartphones at the Consumer Electronic Show (CES) in Vegas are a few cars, and Ford knows that it needs apps to grab the attention of younger, ‘connected’ car-buyers.
In order to attract buyers, car manufacturers have had to ramp up the amount of technology offered in their cars. Infotainment systems do a lot, like help navigate, set cabin temperature, adjust audio settings and more, but they tend to be a neat party trick, falling short in real-world use.
Ignoring software updates is an easy habit to get into, especially when it’s simpler to hit the “cancel” button than enduring an arduous process and wasting time.
There’s a nasty surprise in store for you if you’re one of the people who groans when your Mac or PC gets an update alert and you also happen to drive a car with MyFord Touch.
As we reported last week, the company started mailing USB sticks to some 300,000 customers with an update for your MyFord or MyLincoln Touch infotainment operating systems. It’s simple enough to install, but according to a story reported by Automotive News, the update takes an hour to perform and the engine must be idling.
While it’s probably not such a big deal to spend that time reading a book in the driver’s seat or taking a nap, driver’s don’t actually have to go through the wait time themselves, which is potentially causing an expensive problem for dealerships. Instead of carrying the update out individually, drivers may also bring their cars into a Ford dealership to be serviced — free of charge. What’s more, those opting to do this get a free rental for the day. Doing so saves you from spending gas money on an update.
It remains to be seen if customers will choose to come in for the update or do it themselves, but at a minimum of an hour per, that represents a lot of time technicians could spend working on other problems.
On the other hand, if Ford’s plan works and most people handle the update personally, this could be a significant step in the opposite direction by encouraging people not to bring their vehicles in for unnecessary service.
[Source: Automotive News]
Late last year, Ford announced that they would be introducing a do-it-yourself update for its MyFord Touch system which would give it a more responsive interface with better organization and graphics. Now that update has arrived and Ford wanted to demonstrate just how easy it is to do it.
Jim Buczkowski, Technical Fellow and Director of Electronic Systems Engineering at Ford, stopped by CNET to show the ease of updating the MyFord Touch system. The American automaker is currently shipping owners of vehicles with the MyFord Touch infotainment system a USB drive for the update.
In the video, Buczkowski demonstrates that users will simply be able to plug in the USB drive and the MyFord Touch system will automatically begin the update. Unfortunately it takes quite a bit of time – about 45 minutes to complete. The update changes the user interface of the MyFord Touch system making it easier to access the navigation, entertainment, climate control, and communications.
Those that don’t wish to undergo the update themselves can take their vehicle to a local dealership to have it completed. In the big picture though, this update proves that a new era is upon us, where vehicle infotainment systems can be easily updated to help future-proof vehicles. This just proves that companies like Apple and Google will have an inherent advantage if (once) they get into the car infotainment industry, having done it so long with their mobile operating systems.
Watch the demonstration video below.
Ford‘s new Escape couldn’t be any more different from the outgoing model, with a new look, a new platform, new EcoBoost turbocharged direct-injection engines and an all-new interior with an updated version of Ford’s MyFord Touch telematics system. Plus, Ford has added a cool new innovation, the handsfree liftgate. Find out about all the updates and watch the liftgate in action with AutoGuide editor Colum Wood from the floor of the LA Auto Show.
GALLERY: 2013 Ford Escape
Watch the video below:
In response to falling quality and criticisms over its MyFord Touch and SYNC info entertainment systems, Ford Motor Company is taking steps to improve the situation.
CEO Alan Mulally has gone on the record stating that the company plans to introduce revised versions of both systems that will be simpler to use and more reliable.
He also says that part of the problem with the existing MyFord Touch and SYNC was quality control during the development process. As a result Ford has taken steps to greatly improve the matter, plus it says that from 2012 onwards, owners of Ford and Lincoln vehicles will also receive a flash drive which they can use to upgrade their existing MyFord Touch and SYNC software to the new, improved version without having to go to their nearest dealer.
And despite teething troubles, Mulally remains convinced that the technology is the way forward; currently, Ford is working on plans to make it standard on all Lincoln vehicles and incorporated in some 80 percent of Ford branded products by 2014.
He also says that despite the widely publicized criticism leveled at MyFord Touch and SYNC, including comments made by Consumer Reports, which saw the 2011 Ford Edge being dropped from the magazine’s “recommended” list; the systems do have their fans. “For 50 percent of the people [the systems] are part of the decision to buy a car,” he stated. Mulally also said that some “70 percent of the people that use SYNC and MyFord Touch also recommend it to their friends.”
[Source: Automotive News]
If you were one of the Ford owners who weren’t thrilled with MyFord Touch, you’ll be happy to learn that the system is receiving an upgrade that will make it more user friendly and easier to operate.
The upgrade, which will be available early next year and offered at no extra charge to exsisting MyFord Touch owners, will feature simpler graphics, faster touch-screen response and easier-to-use controls. The upgraded voice-activated in-car connectivity system will also be available with the new 2013 Ford Escape, Flex and Taurus.
Ford decided to upgrade the MyFord Touch system after conducting a series of polls, as well as receiving a flurry of bad press that stated the system wasn’t user friendly and was a bit buggy. To enhance the user experience, Ford has added Apple iPad connectivity and access to Audible.com audiobooks through voice commands or the touchscreen. Other improvements include better Bluetooth telephone connectivity, an updated map experience from TeleNav and Navteq and improved voice recognition powered by Nuance technology.
MyFord Touch is also getting some visual enhancements. Users will be treated to larger, bolder fonts, while designs are made more consistent and low-priority elements have been removed. In total, more than 1,000 screens have been updated with the improved look.
If you need a tutorial about the upgraded system, you can watch how-to videos at www.syncmyride.com or set up a free “SYNC My Ride” personalized training session at a Ford dealership. If you already have the MyFord Touch system, you’ll be sent a USB flash drive with the software upgrade for installation or you can visit your Ford or Lincoln dealer for the software installation.
You can also check out a video of the upgraded system after the jump.
Starting in 2013 Cadillac will begin to dramatically change the interior of its cars, switching away from conventional controls to a new center stack nearly devoid of buttons, knobs and switches.
According to a report by GMInsideNews, Chicago-based Methode Electronics, Inc., which supplies the MyFord Touch units for new models like the 2011 Ford Edge, has also signed-on to deliver a similar product to Cadillac.
Using the company’s next-generation technology, the Caddy dash of the future will use Methode’s TouchSensor and TouchCell technology and when the car is off will go completely black.
The system is first set to appear in the 2013 Cadllac SRX, and will then be found in the ATS compact sedan, as well as Cadillac’s new XTS flagship.
A similar system is also tipped to find its way into the rest of the GM lineup in the future.