Ford wants "Your Ideas" This is the name of a new section on the www.thefordstory.com site that the carmaker intends to use to get consumers to share what car features they want.
At the annual Society of Automotive Engineers conference in Detroit, the new tool was showcased by Mark Fields, Ford's president of the Americas.
Ford said that the tool will enable the public to submit new ideas for future vehicles. Consumers could also give their suggestions on how to improve its current offerings and technologies. Fields said that the company is going beyond traditional consumer market research, studies and focus groups.
Ford's reliance on the social Web to generate new vehicle feature ideas that customers really want and value is expected to gather ideas on powertrain choices, as well as comfort and convenience items.
Visitors can submit ideas and they can also vote on existing ideas by clicking a Digg-style thumbs-up or thumbs-down button. Ford's product planning department will be looking into the most popular ideas.
So far, the ideas that have attracted attention include slide-out loading ramps for Ford's pickups, 110-volt power outlets, and tissue dispensers. There's even one suggestion to install a "mood computer," which would display colors depending on the driver's disposition.