Ford to upgrade, extend warranty on touch-screen system

Wed Nov 28, 2012 3:34pm EST

* Ford exec says co extending warranty on MyFord Touch system

* Ford offering updates to system in three stages

* Touch-screen systems increasingly important -IBM survey

By Nichola Groom

LOS ANGELES, Nov 28 (Reuters) - Ford Motor Co, the second-largest U.S. automaker, will upgrade its touch-screen entertainment and navigation system beginning next month as well as extend the warranty on the software by two years, a top executive said on Wednesday.

The MyFord Touch system has been criticized by analysts and users as too complicated, and analysts say these features are highly valued by prospective buyers. Ford has improved the voice recognition and navigation in what it calls "version 3.5" of the software, said Mark Fields, Ford's head of the Americas.

"We're thinking more and more like not only a car company, but a technology company," Fields said during a roundtable with reporters during the Los Angeles Auto Show.

On Dec. 10, Ford will send out the upgrade to vehicle owners who do not have navigation, Ford spokesman Alan Hall said. Drivers with navigation will receive updates in January and owners of hybrids, plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles will be issued updates in the first quarter.

The automaker also extended the warranty on its MyFord Touch system to five years with unlimited miles, up from three years and 36,000 miles. The software on Lincoln brand vehicles will now be covered for six years with unlimited miles, up from four years and 50,000 miles, Hall said.

Ford launched its Sync software, which was jointly developed with Microsoft Corp, in 2007. This software powers the MyFord Touch system, which Ford launched in 2010.

Entertainment and navigation systems are increasingly important to attracting car shoppers. Some 45 percent of car buyers said navigation systems that help drivers avoid traffic are very important to their purchase decisions, while 30 percent said the same of entertainment systems, according to a survey by IBM to be released soon.

But most of the systems offered now have been poorly reviewed. Consumer complaints about speed and ease of use of MyFord Touch prompted Ford to upgrade the system in March.

Ford's top executives, including Chief Executive Alan Mulally, received smaller cash bonuses for 2011 when Ford fell short of its quality goals partly because of glitches in the system. Ford also tumbled in Consumer Reports magazine's annual survey of reliability last month.

Ford has said it recognizes the problems in the MyFord Touch program and that consumers' satisfaction improved with the second update.

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Comments (3)
stockwoodie wrote:
Now if Ford would upgrade their Bumper to Bumper to 5/60K and Powertrain to 7/100K, I would 100% surely buy a Ford. If Quality is Job #1, Ford should have no problem doing this. The warranty coverage is the PRIMARY reason we purchased a Hyundai over a Ford. I would prefer to buy American/Ford, but the higher warranty coverage (not a “purchased” extended warranty) guarantees me 2 additional years of cost free repairs.

Nov 28, 2012 4:03pm EST  --  Report as abuse
yungwun33 wrote:
I sell both Hyundai’s and Ford’s. There is no resaon for Ford to extended the free factory warranty. Quality is Job #1. And that is why Hyundai needs to have the extra warranty on their vehicle’s. Ford does not have nearly as many issues per vehicle built like Hyundai does. Also Ford out sells Hyunai, so therefore Hyundai needs to give the extra free warranty extension to try and get a better mareke percentage in sales. So if you truly care about quality and buying American, then there is no excuse not to.

Nov 28, 2012 4:58pm EST  --  Report as abuse
stockwoodie wrote:
I see things exactly the opposite. “If” Ford quality was #1, they would have ABSOLUTELY NO problem implementing a 5/60K B2B warranty. Ford is losing potential sales because of it. If Fords don’t need repairs, why not extend the standard B2B warranty. They have nothing to lose. I don’t care who sells more, or who has more/less issues, I care about MY warranty/pocketbook. BTW, We have a 2006 Hyundai and have had ZERO problems with it. Zero.

Nov 29, 2012 1:30pm EST  --  Report as abuse
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